Thursday, November 12, 2009

Crime in the footprint: AKRF was either incompetent or lying

An altercation spilling out of the Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant in the Atlantic Terminal (not Center) Mall Tuesday night led to a shooting--and another piece of evidence that high crime in Sector E of the 88th Precinct is related to the malls, not the much-emptier Atlantic Yards footprint.

So consultant AKRF, in conducting the Blight Study for the Empire State Development Corporation, was either incompetent or lying:
Similarly, while there were 115 grand larceny crimes reported for sector 88E in 2005, the shopping center security force recorded only one incident of larceny that same year. Although crimes catalogued by the Atlantic Center and Atlantic Terminal security staff are not necessarily the same as those catalogued by the NYPD, the relatively low number of crimes reported at the shopping centers indicates that the high crime rate in sector 88E is more likely a result of crimes occurring on the project site than in Atlantic Center or Atlantic Terminal.
The police disagree

More likely? Nah. Remember, "A large percentage of our crime--particularly grand larceny and petit larceny--occurs in the malls," declared Captain Vanessa Kight, 88th Precinct Executive Officer, in March.

AKRF apparently talked only to Forest City Ratner, operator of the malls, which has an interest in minimizing the amount of crime, despite mounds of evidence (1, 2, 3, etc.). The cops weren't questioned.

Missed opportunity

And, in her January 2008 ruling dismissing the challenge to the AY environmental review, state Supreme Court Justice Joan Madden simply punted on questions about the crime analysis.

But what if she had tried to assess that factor in the state's claims of blight, as I wrote at the time. That might have led, if not to a full unraveling of the defense case, at least the start of a cloud--potentially, a large cloud--over its legitimacy, notably the Blight Study.

(ESDC graphic adapted by Lumi Rolley of NoLandGrab; click to enlarge.)

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