Cops seem to do a better job enforcing traffic laws in wealthier neighborhoods, reported Gotham Gazette.
Take, for example, Avenue H and Nostrand Avenue: on a weekday afternoon, this section of Flatbush, Brooklyn is one of New York City’s most dangerous intersections for children. Fifteen-ton buses fight with cars, taxis and dollar vans for a piece of the same road; people emerging from the subway crisscross the street at random; and worst, the white lines of multiple crosswalks are barely visible.
Within a one-block radius of this section of Flatbush, 50 young people under age 17 were hit and injured by vehicles in a seven-year period. Three died. In the two police precincts that cover the area, more than 900 kids were hurt and ten were killed by motorists.
Residents in the area say they know it is dangerous, but are so used to the hazards they no longer feel empowered to do anything about them. Joshua Miller, who has lived in Flatbush for 22 years, says he’s gotten used to seeing or hearing about kids getting hit.
“Every month it’s something,” Miller says. “Just last year I saw two people hit. The worst part is that it’s a school zone!”
And this is not the city’s only hotspot for child pedestrian injuries. Some streets are indeed more dangerous than others. In New York City, most hotspot roads and intersections are in low-income neighborhoods in Brooklyn and the Bronx. They are overwhelmingly congested, poorly maintained, and inadequately policed, according to transportation experts and residents.
Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero campaign to eliminate pedestrian fatalities is a start. But most of the advocacy work is being done by residents with little knowledge about street design or access to data about pedestrian injuries.
Efforts by the New York City Police Department (NYPD) and the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) appear to make a difference, but front line police culture favors taking action on violent crime more than traffic enforcement—even though the data shows more kids getting hit by cars than being shot by guns.