Jonathan Kozol, in his book Amazing Grace paints for us a tragic picture of the Mott Haven section of the Bronx in the 1990s. Poverty, drug use, homicides, muggings, homelessness, disease and prostitution defines what you would find when you entered the Mott Haven.
The neighborhood was also a dumping ground for things anything and everything New York did not want. Kozol sees this as he takes a walk with young Cliffie around the Mott Haven neighborhood. They pass a waste incinerator, whose home was supposed to be the East side of Manhattan but ended up in Mott Haven. When Kozol asks Cliffie's mother about it her response perfectly defines the neighborhood: "The point is that they put a lot of things into our neighborhood that no one wants...The was incinerator is just one more lovely way of showing their affection...Then we get illegal dumpers. People who don't live here come and dump things they don't want: broken televisions, boxes of bottles, old refrigerators, beat-up cars, old pieces of metal, other lovely things."
Has the neighborhood changed since then? That was the one question that kept going through my mind as I was reading this. I looked up news article pertaining to Mott Haven and found the following: On August 24, 2013, a 73-year old woman was sexually assaulted inside her apartment. On March 15, 2013 a woman was stabbed 28 times inside the stairwell of one of the Mott Haven Houses. It was a miracle that she survived. Back in June and July of 2013 there was a string of bus driver attacks .
At first glance it would appear that crime is still high in Mott Haven. However, data shows another conclusion: According to a Crime Report for the 40th Precinct- Crime rates have dropped since the 1990s. This is a weekly report and covers September 2nd, 2013- September 8th, 2013. In that week's time 45 crimes were committed. The bottom of the report shows yearly crime rates for 1990, 1993, 1998, 2001, and 2012. In the year 1990 there were 7,232 crimes reported to the 40th Precinct (Mott Haven). The current total for crimes reported from January 1st to September 8th is 1,276. As you can see crime has significantly dropped in Mott Haven since the 1990s; but unfortunately it is still not the safest neighborhood in New York. DNA Info labels Mott Haven as the 59th safest for all crimes, 66th safest for violent crimes and 44th safest for property crimes.
Points To Share: 1. What about the living conditions? According to a 2011 article published in the New York Times, Mott Haven has advanced from parks full of drug dealers and prostitutes to community gardens.
2. Families, who once feared living in Mott Haven, are now purchasing homes in the area. The average price for a one-family home costs $275,000.
3. Yes, Mott Haven still has its troubles. These articles do prove, though, that the government has finally stopped turning a blind eye on the neighborhood and its residents.