Sunday, February 27, 2011

Good News for Crown Heights Teens

NY1 reported on Thursday that, for the first time in city history, money seized from a narcotics bust is being re-invested in the community it was ill-gotten from, in the form of a teen center for the Albany Houses in Crown Heights. After seizing $35,000 were seized from a drug ring in the NYCHA project, the district attorney's office and the NYPD decided to use the money to open a Police Athletic League space and Teen Impact Center. With the crime ring gone and replaced with chessboards and mentors, the net gain for the teens of Albany Houses is great indeed.

ILFA is particularly thrilled about this center. Last June, I sat on a jury for three weeks in the case of a resident of the Albany Houses who was charged with beating a homeless man, Stephen Ingram, to death. The defendant had committed the crime as a teenager, and he and the witnesses, still in their teens or barely out of them, did not hold their own or other lives in particularly high regard - perhaps a product of the extremely truncated set of opportunities available to them - and were deeply distrustful of and antagonistic to authority (not without reason - as we learned during the case, the primary investigative strategy employed by the police in their area seemed to be picking up kids their age and threatening to pin any number of crimes on them until they talked). It's foolish to speculate, but if these young men had had access to this center, where they would have encountered police officers in a friendly setting and shared in activities that build mutual respect and widen horizons, perhaps the awful violence of September 29, 2007 might have been avoided. Let's hope this novel use of seized cash becomes a regular policy in Brooklyn.


  1. I think that's great! But I do wonder what usually happens to the cash recovered in such raids ... if it's not reinvested into the community where it was obtained, then what?

  2. The article said the "profits" from the raid were put towards the community center, which makes it sound as though some of the seized money is used to cover NYPD narcotics expenses.

  3. The process that determines where the profits from a drug raid go is a complex one, and one that I'm not completely familiar with.

    However, I do believe that all "redistribution of such funds" is subject to the oversight and approval of the District Attorney, affter being awarded by a judge.

    The answers to your questions are likely best answered here:

  4. Here is a dated article on the subject:

    digging will likely be able to reveal how much money is seized and forfeited in Brooklyn in a given year, and where that money goes.