Cops Probe String Of Teens-On-Bikes Assaults
by Paul Bass | Aug 2, 2013 1:12 pm
Police are investigating three possibly related attacks on people by teens on bikes in and around Edgewood Park.
The Independent reported Thursday on one such incident, which occurred around 5: 30 p.m. on Friday July 26 along the asphalt road that connects the park’s duck pond to the skateboard rink. A 63-year-old jogger was partway along that road when, he said, four teens on bikes rode passed. One turned around, rolled a bike at him to knock him over, then knocked him down again when he got up. The teens proceeded to punch and kick him, breaking an arm and cutting open his forehead, before fleeing. They didn’t seek to rob him.
On Friday, another Edgewood Park jogger related a similar incident to the Independent. Like the other jogger, he asked to remain anonymous.
This jogger had entered the park at Ella Grasso Boulevard and Chapel and started running down the hilly road toward the duck pond between 1:30 and 2 p.m. on Sunday, July 21, he said. He’s been running in the park for five years, he said; never before had he had a problem.
It was hot out; he had on shorts but no shirt. Four teens on bikes came zooming down the hill behind him, passing close to his body.
One of the teens held out his arm and struck the jogger on his neck. “I could tell from the way the kid hit me and looked at me, he expected me to go down,” the jogger said.
He didn’t fall. The kids rode ahead. The jogger kept running and came upon them under the bridge below Edgewood Avenue.
Three of the kids, whom he described as between 13 and 15 years old, moved behind him. “How’s your neck?” they taunted him. “What’s that on your neck?” They had beat-up bikes, he said; two of the bikes were girls’ bikes.
The kid who’d tried to “clothesline” him moments before stood in front of him. No one else was around. “He had jeans and a black shirt. He was heavyset. He could have had a weapon.” The jogger decided it wasn’t smart to confront the kids, so he turned around and jogged back toward the pond. More people were there. The kids rode off and didn’t bother him any more.
The jogger went home and called the cops. Three officers arrived at his home; one took a report.
Sgt. Al Vazquez, the police department’s chief of detectives, said the department received a report about a third incident that occurred within the same time frame several blocks from the park, at Ella Grasso Boulevard and Derby Avenue. A witness called police to say that a group of teens on bikes had ridden past a man, knocked him to the ground, then started beating on him. The victim fled; he never contacted police. Nor did police find a report of a beating victim entering the hospital for treatment.
Vazuez said the incidents “appear to be related.” Detectives have no leads yet but are actively investigating the cases, he said. He asked anyone with information to call the detective division at 203-946-6304.
The incidents do not appear to have approached the magnitude of the recent bloodying of a New Haven Power Sports technician on Goffe Street. (Read about that here.)
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These kids need to be stopped quick. With each unsolved attack, they become more emboldened. This is very similar in feel to the scooter attack on Goffe. I would hate to see every kid on a bike profiled as a potential threat. With these events thats where we are heading. New Haven is better than that. So they must be found and held accountable. If it takes extra manpower and overtime—just do it.
I believe the cops should be doing undercover jogging around the park system. It may be the only way to get these idiots.
I’m disappointed that the NHI would promote age discrimination by releasing the approximate ages of the alleged attackers.
If you make the foolish assumption you can safely traverse a public place unaccompanied, and a gang of minors decides to attack you; either run, or curl up into a ball and guard your face and your junk. You have no right to do anything else. If you so much as scratch one of them, the parents who bred those monsters will use the media, litigators, and whatever rights groups fit your adjoining socio-ethnic profiles to destroy your life. Its way less of a hassle to simply get the snot kicked out of you. Nod shamefacedly from the hospital when you get your lecture about exercising by yourself in a public space.
I’m now really sorry that I only yelled at the kid in a bike gang who banged into me on a Chapel Street sidewalk last week. From his aggressive behavior, I’m guessing these could be the same kids. Nasty attitude and headed for a life in and out of prison or worse.
Are these the same five or six guys who used to terrorize the park on dirt bikes?
Cracking down hard on quality of life crimes, such as littering, speeding, red light running, excessive vehicle noise, and dirt bike use, is one way to address this problem (and catch people who are also carrying guns). It also gets more people out, which increases safety.
To Quinn Meadows: I am the victim in the above article, I am the one who gave the approximate ages, and I support the facts in the above article 100%.
Also, in addition to being heavy set and wearing a black t-shirt and blue jeans, the inidividual that assaulted me wore black sunglasses, and a black chicago bulls baseball cap with white pinstripes and a solid red brim. All the gang members had darker skin.
They are the victims Tyler. We don’t provide enough for them to do in the summer so it’s really all of our fault not theirs.
These really are discouraging reports to read, but I’m glad that the public is being made more aware of them through NHI. I hope that can track these kids down and help put a stop to the madness. NHPD just received new bikes, right? Maybe they would go to good use patrolling the park once in a while, while on neighborhood beats. It is unfortunate that many people will now avoid the park because of reports like this (I probably will), but that safety in numbers and increased traffic in the parks might actually help prevent this sort of senseless violence. Gangs of kids on bikes have been an issue in New Haven for a long time now (including some incidents in daylight downtown on Wall & Temple St. last fall). Do other cities struggle with the same issue over and over again? This seems to be a reoccurring issue in New Haven, with no end in sight.
This is awful. I’m so relieved to hear that Tyler is ok after the attack. New Haven has a problem with casual violence. Street smarts don’t cut it anymore because these kids hate the World. You can catch a bullet for no reason, and that don’t make a bit of sense. We have failed them and they are failing us. Yes, like mstratton said find these kids right away no matter what, because we do not need this to escalate. We might even save their lives by getting them before they commit homicide. We need EVERYONE to stand up and say ENOUGH. You don’t lay hands on another person in this city, and let justice be swift and without mercy. We also need to end moral and economical poverty because that is the root of the cancer of violence. Tonight I’m praying for peace in the World but especially in New Haven.
I was just scoping out Edgewood as a place to take our family for some outdoor time. I’d never seen it as an option before, because of the stories I’ve heard, but lately I had driven by it and it looks beautiful from the road. Guess I won’t be going there after all.
These kids are doing this here because they know they would get nailed for it on East Rock. And people wonder why so many of the Ivory Tower-types stick to that part of town.
Undercover joggers sounds like a good idea, or maybe some of these newly-trained bicycle police.
@ Quinn - it is always someone else’s fault eh?
I’m sure they would be highly likely to attend a structured recreational program @ a playground.<sarcasm>
To Tyler and the unnamed gentleman who also was assaulted: As a New Haven native I am very upset that you experienced the worst New Haven has to offer: FEAR. I attended Sheridan Junior High when it was first integrated, I was bussed to Lee High when it first opened; those of us who are still around, we have been through all this before. We did not have a choice. Those were very turbulent times, but we all had to learn to get along. Now it’s 40-50 50 years later and it’s not safe to go for a run in Edgewood Park, in broad daylight? UNACCEPTABLE!!!
To Quinn: I don’t know who you are but I hope you are being sarcastic when you say the perps are the victims. What if it’s you next time, are you cool with that?
Enough is enough. And btw, where is the critical id info? Is this black on black? Black on white? New Haven is very diverse; perhaps there might be Hispanics or maybe Asians in the mix, as perps or victims? I am not biased, but if the kids on the bikes were Caucasian, and the joggers were not, I believe that info would already have been published.
New haven is better than this. Where are the parents of these kids? Just because a kid has “nothing to do” does not make it ok to go bust up someone. They could always try doing something nice for an older person instead.
Why aren’t there regular blasts of violent crimes and burglaries for New Haven?
Each district should publish a daily blog about what’s happened in that area, every day. It’s completely unacceptable for people to find out about a rash of muggings by becoming the next victim.
Esserman either has really dropped the ball on this, or doesn’t have the resources. Whatever the reason, this is unacceptable. It’s 2013 for god’s sake.
It’s an epidemic. Not safe anywhere…Hamden/New Haven Line on August 1st
“The 30-year-old victim told police that he was in the area of Dixwell Avenue and Dudley Street when seven or eight men on bicycles approached him, Smith said. They demanded money, Smith said, and when the victim refused, they attacked.”
Police need support to do their jobs.
To TELL IT LIKE IT IS and everyone else:
I am white. the attackers were black.
For god’s sakes the kids aren’t victims. 97% of the kids with nothing to do manage to not beat up or rob random people.
@Quinn Meadows: It is difficult to imagine the level of insensitivity necessary to tell the victim of a violent assault that the perpetrators of said assault are the true victims. Nevertheless, I always try to assume good intentions. I am assuming that you are pointing out that there are less appropriate summer activities available to our youth than we would like. That is true. But such activities are not nonexistent.
Regardless…it’s hard for me to imagine that you would really feel that its OK for kids to think, “We’re bored. We’re pissed that we’re bored. Let’s go beat somebody up.” This city CANNOT be an open tableau for bored angry kids to act out their animus toward the perceived wrongs of society on innocent individuals. And when they do, the overt act requires our attention, and consequences for the perpetrator.
The city does indeed have a variety of summer activities available to youth (admittedly, not enough.) Every one requires a level of commitment on the part of parents, be it financial (sometimes difficult) or simply the ability to advocate, fill out paperwork, and get their kids to a physical. Maybe an answer is to have more outreach to parents to help them negotiate the various processes to get their kids into appropriate programs.
The fact remains that even with great things to do for the summer, kids go astray. They’re kids. They make piss-poor decisions. My son has plenty to do this summer but he punched his sister today anyway. He got a consequence that he didn’t like very much. As it should be.
Just as the perpetrators of this violent act deserve a consequence commensurate with that act. You can say they’re victims all you want. I suppose I could’ve told my daughter, “Sorry Honey, your brother has special needs. We’ll give him a pass on the punching thing, OK?” That would make me an awful parent. Just as making excuses for violence makes us an awful society.
Please stop making excuses and turn your thoughts to solutions.
Of course I’m not serious. But it amuses me the ridiculously absurd things you can get away with stating if your comments are on the correct side of the spectrum, and the non-positive things that get deleted because they are slightly over the center line in the other direction.
Just as disturbing as these incidents are the comments from user Quinn Meadows. I hope the comments were meant to be sarcastic, because, if not, it is that very mindset that is allowing our cities to be destroyed.
@ tell it like it is: Quinn was being sarcastic. What I believe he/she meant by the post is that it’s never the victims fault. People are quick to ignore the problems at hand and say, “if the kids had something to do, this wouldn’t happen” or come up with something to ignore what’s really going on. Kind of like when someone gets shot or arrested and everyone wants to say, “he/she was a good person, was getting their life together,” etc.
@Curious, The Mayor and Chief tried to implement something like this. They wanted to start a Twitter and Facebook account for NHPD, to keep the city abreast of what’s going on. I can’t say the position was worth 50k (that was the proposal before the BOA through it out), but it was a good idea.
NOTE: When the Boston marathon bombing happened, BPD was constantly updated the public via Twitter. With everyone having a smartphone, it’s just the thing to do in 2013.
To make matters worse, I even sent Dave Hartman an e-mail saying that I’d volunteer and help NHPD get up-to-date, but my e-mail was either ignored or something mixed with the hundreds I’m sure he or whoever reads his e-mail receives.
NHI, Maybe you can help me make that happen, but something has to be done.
These attacks in Edgewood Park are outrageous. It’s a beautiful park on the upswing, but these kinds of incidents will
make it a no man’s land again. I can’t believe that it took the NHI to bring these attacks to light. Come on NHPD - no mention to the public, not even a heads-up to the district manager? Roving bands of maniac kids on bikes will shut this Park down. The police should be telling the district manager and the public, and going after them with everything they have, not sweeping this under the rug. And people should report anything and everything suspicious.
@Curious I hope you’ll reconsider. It’s a terrific park and actually quite low-crime. I am there all the time. That said, this is a very disturbing story, obviously. I hope the NHPD, which seems to have been doing a great job of late, can catch them.
One related thought. Obviously, the victims here are not to blame—not at all. But one condition that allows this kind of stupid, casual thuggery is that the park is way under-used. I grew up in Spfld, Mass., right next to Forest Park, a similar-sized, also Olmsted-designed urban park. Same scruffy fields, same tennis courts, same wooded areas. Same town with very mixed socioeconomic groups. But in the summer there were hundreds of people in Forest Park. Little League teams practiced there, teenagers cruised around a loop in their cars (smoking, drinking beers under-age, blasting Aerosmith, probably terrifying old people, but they looked cool to me), lots of tennis. Basically, what you have in the parking lot and tennis court area of Edgewood Park, except at Edgewood it never penetrates the interior of the park, which remains mostly deserted.
Good park planning would figure out a way to lure people into the interior of the park on a regular, sustained basis, so that people began to think of it as a usable common space. Most of it floods, so it would be hard to put commerce there (imagine a great coffee shop in the interior, or an outdoor lunch spot, or a place to get hot chocolate in the winter…). Kite rental? Regular weekend activities of some sort? Concerts in the summer?
I know the Friends of Edgewood Park is nobly tackling such questions all the time, and I am rooting for them all the time. I just wanted to make the additional point that in a well-used park—no matter how poor the surrounding population, no matter how sparse the police presence—crime goes down.
Curious: East Rock Park has seen far worse assaults in recent years, and that neighborhood overall has a crime rate about 3X higher than Westville.
Edgewood was packed with families this afternoon at 5PM. I’d encourage you to check out the new duck pond area. The Maltby lakes are a good option out there too.
Of course, a few assaults in East Rock Park aside, both East Rock and Westville are quite safe relative to some other parts of town.
If by “ivory types” you mean wealthy people with graduate degrees, well, the west side of Edgewood Park over to Hopkins is easily the wealthiest part of town other than a 1-2 block wide strip of Saint Ronan.
In case it isn’t obvious to everyone, Quinn Meadows is trolling, and in a particularly unpleasant, sarcastic, pot-stirring manner.
For my part, I sincerely hope that the authorities catch these kids before they do something even worse.
Really? Talk about the soft bigotry of low expectations.
And age discrimination? If anything, identifying the perpetrators as juveniles affords them a certain leniency. If they were grown men (oops, am I being sexist?), folks would be even more terrified.
My theory is that this is linked to climate change: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-23538771
To “tell it like it is” and everyone else: In my case, I am White and the attackers were Black.
Also, I still run my usual routes through the park, and I am hoping to see a regular police presence, which as of today, has not occurred.
It’s Yale’s fault. For not being “more welcoming” and not doing “more” for 13—15-year-olds.
I and others suspect these are gang like initiation events. Reminds of the random shootings of people waiting for buses a few years back. Looks like we need a project longevity jr.
@ Mark Oppenheimer,
You are 100% correct about the public perception of that park, and it makes great sense that it being largely empty leads to this kind of behavior. That was my point that Anon missed; on top of East Rock, it’s covered with people.
I went to SCSU for four years and went there and lived there for two more, then lived in New Haven another two years, before ever realizing that Edgewood Park was anything more than a couple of basketball courts and a pavillion.
Quinn Meadows, I usually will not participate in a back and forth discussion once I have commented. However, your comments are to me over the top. Age discrimination? And as far as blaming youth for doing what they did because of a lack of things to do is really offensive. My parents were not able to afford to send me to summer programs or camps etc.. I spent my summers at a public swimming pool (yes I grew up in an urban city 8 times the size of New Haven. We also entertained ourselves with bike riding, going to the park and hanging out with other friends etc. It never entered my mind or my friends to enjoy the summer by beating up other people for something to do. It truly is a shame that anyone would think boredom is the cause of these 5-7 young men hurting someone because they just didn’t have anything else to do. Your comments have just labeled you ignorant for attempting to find an excuse for this type of behavior.
@Mark Oppenheimer makes excellent points about ways to expand usage of Edgewood Park to other areas beyond the basketball/tennis court area. More fuller utilization of the Park will make it safer and I hope those ideas are explored.
Esserman and the Police are making good progress, but incidents should be sent to the District Managers to send out an email blast to residents. It’s community-based policing right? Glad to see the Police are finally putting presence at the spots where crime repeatedly occurs. For years, the same locales have come up in police reports again and again. How many times has the Orchard St. area been the site of a violent crime?
To Elaine Braffman and other outraged by Quinn Meadows’ comments: he has already admitted above that (like David S Baker, and Edward H, and A Contrarian) he was trolling. By sarcastically making absurd excuses for the perpetrators, these posters are attempting to invoke the ancient, worn-out trope that liberals/progressives/Democrats “coddle” criminals and are “soft on crime”. Tragically, this stance implies that all we need to do is get “tougher”—an absurd mindset that has led to the U.S. having the highest incarceration rate in the world, and electoral success by oafish authoritarians like Phoenix’s Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
Only the imaginary criminal-coddlers in these posters’ minds are advocating timid responses to these assaults. In the real world, New Havenites of all political stripes can readily agree that the first priority is to prevent the perpetrators from carrying out any further attacks.
Why anyone would want to denigrate simultaneous attempts to understand the psychology and sociology of violent crime, and to use that understanding to try to prevent it, is an interesting topic in itself ... but also a rather ugly and sad one.
Aha, Quinn Meadows, you got me. Now please tell me what bridge you live under so I can send along my friends the Three Billy Goats.
And I’m so gratified that this story of a violent assault has provided you with some amusement.
“To Elaine Braffman and other outraged by Quinn Meadows’ comments: he has already admitted above that (like David S Baker, and Edward H, and A Contrarian) he was trolling”
I won’t be so arrogant as to assume to know what others are writing but in my case it is called sarcasm. Lighten up. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarcasm
I’m sorry you spent so much time building that strawman, jimjoebob, but I am very liberal and always have been. I was just highlighting the point that on the NHI opposing viewpoints aren’t welcome, unless they are sarcastically disguised as the editors viewpoint (which I already explained above so I don’t know why you are trying to give a different explanation…).
I’d try to explain further but I’m sure my comment would never get posted. Suffice to say in New Haven it’s not a “worn-out trope”. New Haven is where negative caricatures of liberals/progressives get their wish and turn into real boys.
Urban Ed, State Street bridge. It’s been nice and quite for the last few years, I figure I can probably get another decade of tranquil living before they start working on it again. Can you do two nanny goats and one billy instead? I’d prefer the fresh milk.
Thanks jimjoebob for the clarification regarding Quinn Meadows comments, and I see he has clarified his intent. So the only thing left to say is to the victim…...I am so sorry this happened to you. I hope the PD finds the teens who did this to you!
We had a group of kids with the “black chicago bulls baseball cap with white pinstripes” last summer. I have not seen them this summer. They never did anything over here. But we knew the hats stood for being a member to a certain gang. This kid could of been just wearing the hat but I am going to guess he was leading these kids into trouble.
“the west side of Edgewood Park over to Hopkins is easily the wealthiest part of town other than a 1-2 block wide strip of Saint Ronan”
Probably true but it’s not a close race but I am not sure I see your point. You paint a picture like the two neighborhoods are close in income, wealth, etc. and that’s simply not true. Assuming you are correct the gap between 1st and 2nd place in this respect is still enormous. Go ahead and Google or FOI some real estate values or tax assessments. You could combine whole blocks of “upper Westville” and there would still be some single households on St. Ronan Street that topped them. My point is that there are plenty of hard working families on all sides of Edgewood Park none of whom deserve to worry about roving gangs of thugs assaulting them while they enjoy the use of the park. So I’m not sure tax brackets have anything to do with the right to use public parks without fear of assault. This kind of behavior is completely unacceptable regardless of where it is committed, who commits it and to who it committed to.
Just to back up my point here you go.
Excluding Yale and businesses if you look at the top 100 tax payers in New Haven the overwhelming majority are from the “St. Ronan Street” crowd. With the exception of a three or four hits on Alston, Forest and Chapel St. in Westville the list is packed full of hits on St. Ronan, Edgehill (St. Ronan’s extension), Highland, Ogden, Livingston, Huntington, Everit, East Rock, Edwards, Prospect, etc. You can’t even compare the two neighborhoods. It’s not even close. So again this picture you paint of upper Westville being upper crust is just not accurate. Reasonably successful yes. But (with a handful of exceptions) not uber rich like across town.
Here’s a sober and serious response:
Thankfully it’s not Christian Prince all over again.
Considering the outrageous amount of sarcasm, ill-will, and outright B.S. that I see on these comment pages, I am astonished by the response to Quinn.
Quinn, I got your sentiment from the get-go, and it seems like you struck a nerve with some folks. Don’t let the nonsense get you down.
I have kept up with this article and the comments posted. I see where a number of people say ” these kids need more activities or if these kids had something to do” this would not be happening. Thats a bunch of CRAP! If parents raised their kids today like many of the old school parents raised us, most of this stuff would not happen. Also, I have teenagers. When they do not have anything to do, they go off and find constructive things to occupy their time, not running around infringing on other peoples’ lives and hurting other human beings. We need to stop making excuses for these kids that are just being bad and down right mean. If they wanted better, they would do better.
Hey Tyler, i run the same area shirtless, ive been runming with my boxer pit mix in light of these recent stories. Not sure of your pace but if you need someone to run with let me know…
JMS, this is pointless, because there are different ways to measure wealth (median? average? Top 10%? Just the 100 folks with highest net worth?), but to be fair, I did write, “other than a 1-2 block wide strip.” So I think we agree.
To be fair my comments were not entirely directed at you.
I often read comments on the NHI about “upper Westville” in a negative light because of some kind of mythical concentration of wealth and it’s simply not true. It is a successful working middle class neighborhood with a handful of upper middle class residents. I don’t know anyone in Westville who doesn’t get dressed and go to work in the morning like everyone else. On the other side of town the St. Ronan St. crowd and surrounding neighborhood does in fact (by a large margin) contain the highest concentration of wealth in the city or some of the “one percent” demographic. Granted it’s just one way to evaluate this but by using property values and associated tax numbers the comparison is as I stated not even close between the two neighborhoods.
But my larger point remains that none of this should matter in the context of a conversation between concerned citizens over the problem of roving thugs on bicycles assaulting random joggers and park visitors. Every single reader and resident of this town should be equally concerned and equally mortified by this kind of criminal behavior. Heck even the St. Ronan St. elite are entitled to be concerned about their safety.