An ongoing crackdown on warring gangs, deadly gun violence and drug trafficking in city housing projects has led to 219 arrests in the past month with NYPD officials Thursday promising more to come.
“We will be after you,” Deputy Chief James O’Neill said in reference to gang members during a news conference at One Police Plaza in Manhattan alongside other top NYPD brass. “Violence will not be tolerated in the city. We are setting the tone for the summer. . . . We are looking for a happy, nice summer.”
O’Neill said residents have lauded authorities for a massive multiagency sweep of Bronx housing projects last month.
After the April 27 effort by the NYPD and a federal task force, Police Commissioner William Bratton touted it as the largest city dragnet targeting gangs in modern history.
Members of the NYPD and the task force, which included Homeland Security and the FBI, arrested 120 Bronx gang members who face federal murder, gun and drug charges.
Since then, raids have continued almost weekly with dozens more arrested at other high-crime public housing projects in the Bronx as well as Manhattan, officials said.
The NYPD estimates that more than 300 gangs operate across the city.
“We have gotten a lot of positive feedback” from residents, O’Neill said, adding that investigators have identified many of the gang members through social media and wire taps. “These are long-term investigations . . . not sweeps,”
The NYPD is “working with probation, identifying who is driving our crime, to prevent shootings in the first place,” said Deputy Commissioner of Operations Dermot Shea. “Taking down gangs is not the sole answer. We know the gang members and know what they are doing. We are coming after you if you don’t choose to put your weapons down.”
In one recent Manhattan roundup with armored vehicles as well as helicopters overhead, police said they made three dozen arrests at the Washington Houses and East River Houses, charging gang members with selling heroin, crack, oxycodone and marijuana from public housing apartments.
O’Neill said the roundups will continue.
“They should be nervous,” O’Neill of gang members. “If you choose to commit a crime you will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”