For the children of Harlem’s Frederick Samuel Houses, crime does pay … for a refurbished basketball court

image With approximately $32,000 in drug-trafficking funds seized by the city’s Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor, the Frederick Samuel Houses Community Center now sports a new gym floor and an electronic scoreboard. Funding is also set aside for the NYPD’s Police Athletic League (PAL) Cops & Kids program.

“It is my hope this facility can help us in continuing to build a meaningful relationship with the residents of Harlem, both on and off the court,” said Police Commissioner William J. Bratton.

Strengthening collaboration between the cops and the community has been a hallmark of Bratton’s two-and-a-half-year tenure and was on display at the dedication ceremony, with a basketball game between the community center’s team and officers from the 32nd Precinct and Police Service Area 6, which covers the northern end of Manhattan.

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Northern Manhattan has been the scene of two major gang take-downs in recent years: one in 2014 in the 26th Precinct and one in April of this year in the 23rd Precinct. The funding for the court came from a set of arrests this February for crack cocaine sales. With facilities like the community center and close police/community interaction through PAL, such actions should become increasingly rare.

“This new gymnasium is a powerful example of how collaboration between NYCHA and law enforcement is making neighborhoods safer and more connected,” said Gerald Nelson, NYCHA vice president for public safety and a former NYPD borough commander for Brooklyn North.

“With this major investment, ill-gotten gains have been re-purposed for the good of the community.”

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