NYPD Commissioner visits crime-heavy area of Staten Island, pledging more police resources

NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell visited the crime-ridden Stapleton area of Staten Island over the weekend
Photo by Dean Moses

Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell visited a crime-heavy area of Staten Island over the weekend, where she pledged to bring more police resources to the embattled borough in preparation for the summer months.

The Stapleton neighborhood has become a hotspot for crime in the Big Apple in recent months, making it one of the most dangerous areas in the city statistics-wise. The dire situation only a mere ferry ride from the tip of Manhattan became apparent on May 19 when a 13-year-old was fatally shot by a 16-year-old while he was playing in the Stapleton Houses playground.

This tragedy shone a light on the threat facing the borough. Despite murders being down nearly 14% citywide, homicides have skyrocketed year-to-date in Stapleton’s 120th Precinct, up 250% compared to 2022, according to Police Department data. As of May 14, when the most recent data is available, burglaries were up by nearly 79% and robberies by a whopping 118%.

NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell meets with locals. Photo by Dean Moses

On June 9, top cop Sewell endeavored to put her own boots on the ground, walking the neighborhood and meeting with locals and business owners to see the area for herself and learn from residents first-hand what improvements they would like to see. Beginning at the JCC Gerard Carter Center on Broad Street, Sewell met with locals of all ages, even leaving some inspired.

Fifteen-year-old Tia Mapp was sitting by herself in a room inside the community center when she just so happened to meet Sewell, who was being given a tour by staff. Mapp shook hands with the commissioner, a brief encounter the teen said had a profound effect on her.

Fifteen-year-old Tia Mapp was left stunned after meeting Sewell. Photo by Dean Moses

“I never saw women in charge, like ever. This is crazy, and she’s Black,” Mapp said.

The moment also seemed to move Sewell, who returned to Mapp minutes later to give the young woman a challenge coin, a piece of police memorabilia special to each commissioner and doled out on special occasions.

“This is beautiful,” Mapp gasped.

Sewell then gathered with several top police officials such as Chief of Department Jeffrey Maddrey and toured local businesses, speaking with owners of hairdressers, laundromats, delis, and other neighborhood staples, listening to their concerns and complaints. Those who call the area home did not bite their tongues when it came to voicing their concerns, something Commissioner Sewell told amNewYork Metro she plans to act upon.

“They want us here and they want to see more police. They want to have that visible presence walking in the streets, interacting with them,” Sewell said. “But you know, policing is about so much more than law enforcement. It’s also about bringing services to a community and we had this conversation as well.”

Sewell laughed with business owners. Photo by Dean Moses
Sewell visited local businesses. Photo by Dean Moses

According to Chief Maddrey, the NYPD plans on bringing about 40 extra police officers to the 120th Precinct in order to help bolster the understaffed stationhouse. Additionally, Maddrey said authorities will be working to provide outreach in order to prevent young people from falling into crime. 

“I promise that they will see the full effort of the NYPD and we will never stop working to take every neighborhood back and make the city safe. That I will promise,” Sewell added.

Sewell stopped by a barbecue. Photo by Dean Moses