By Sadef Ali Kully
LIFE Camp, a Queens-based anti-violence organization, reported last week there were no shootings for 365 days in its designated impact zone in South Jamaica, which falls under the 113th Precinct, to keep the peace in the neighborhood.
LIFE Camp’s South Jamaica impact zone is within the boundaries of 111th and 118th Avenues between 146th Street and Guy R. Brewer Boulevard in South Jamaica.
Across the city, all major crime has declined by 2 percent, according to the NYPD’s Compstat data, when compared to 2014. Yet homicides have gone up by 5 percent and rape was up 5.7 percent when compared to 2014.
According to the 113rd Precinct data, which covers neighborhoods in St. Albans, Hollis, Springfield Gardens, South Ozone Park, South Jamaica, Addisleigh Park and Locust Manor, in the past year there has been a nearly 16 percent decrease in overall crimes when compared to 2014.
In the entire 113th Precinct area, there were 22 shooting so far this year compared with 30 shootings in 2014, a drop of 26 percent.
The number of homicides and rape incidents have held steady in 2015 and 2014. There were nine murders and 17 rapes each year, according to the most recent data from the 113th Precinct.
For the last 13 years, Life (Love Ignites Freedom Through Education) Camp has served the greater Jamaica area in curbing gun and gang violence, aide in youth development and engage in community mobilization.
“After losing so many of my friends to gun-violence, I made a commitment to help break the cycle. This achievement validates our core principle that peace is a lifestyle,” said Erica Ford, LIFE Camp founder. “The community is committed to working with us to foster a life-affirming culture that will enable it to prosper. Together, we will make it so that senseless shootings and other acts of violence become things of the past.”
LIFE Camp’s website said the organization encourages at-risk teens and young adults living in the community to reject guns as a means of resolving conflicts and embrace peace as a healthy alternative. Its volunteer members also intervene in the immediate aftermath of shootings to de-escalate tensions between rival parties and dissuade them from retaliating.
“LIFE Camp’s efforts in South Jamaica have not only saved lives, but are also paving the way for an economic revival. As its area of focus in southeast Queens expands, so must the support it receives from the city,” Councilman Ruben Wills (D-South Ozone Park) said.
Reach Reporter Sadef Ali Kully by e-mail at skull