“Our concern is that the attitude, with these young people, is that this may now be an occasion for retaliation,” he said by phone. “We’re going to try to keep the peace.”
Brownsville has one the city’s highest concentrations of public housing developments. Groups of youths in one housing complex sometimes have ongoing feuds with their neighbors in another, Herbert said.
In Brownsville, major crime hasn’t declined as steeply as it has in some other parts of the city in the last 12 years. Serious crime dropped 30 percent citywide from 2002 to 2012, compared with 9 percent in Brownsville.
Killings citywide are down more than 20 percent, to a record-low 333 so far this year, compared with last year. Brownsville also has recorded a new low — 14, two fewer than in 2012.
The bloodshed in Brownsville this year has included a stray bullet hitting a baby in the head and killing him as he sat in his stroller in September; the February wounding of an armed 16-year-old by police officers responding to a report of shots fired on a rooftop; a drive-by shooting in July that left six people on the sidewalk wounded; and the unsolved killing in November of a man by a gunman driving near a public school.