Drug arrests in Greenpoint and North Williamsburg have gone up by a third compared to last year, the New York Post reports; police have made 51 collars, mostly for possession of marijuana and heroin. (A big heroin bust was also made recently in Windsor Terrace-South Slope.) Because hipsters be in these North Brooklyn neighborhoods, the tabloid attributes the modest spike to the community’s population of young Cool Kids. “Brooklyn hipsters are apparently partying a little too hard these days,” the article’s authors write; the editors include a photograph of hiply dressed youngs checking smart phones as evidence of the raging drug problem. But is that what’s really going on in Greenpoint?
Actual drug usage doesn’t appear to have increased, according to anecdotal evidence. Greenpoint is “no different drugwise than it was three years ago,” one resident told the Post. “There seems to be a police crackdown because this is turning into a different kind of area—wealthier people are moving in.” (And, as seen recently in Bed Stuy, the more money people have, the more police presence they like to see.)
The sentiment was echoed by a commenter on District Leader Lincoln Restler’s Facebook wall. “I don’t think there’s any more drug use around here, I think it’s just that people are getting more upset about it,” she wrote. “It’s a result of a combination of changes that make old timers feel pushed out and newcomers feel uncomfortable.” (“I used to see people smoking weed on the street!” she added. “That I haven’t seen in a while.”)
It seems that the increase in arrests is simply the result of more police attention, which stems from community pressure to address problem areas—and I don’t mean where hipsters hang out.
“The uptick in arrests is a direct result our neighborhood organizing together to collaborate with our police precinct to address serious quality of life issues at the three-quarter house on Manhattan Avenue and other neighborhood trouble spots,” Restler, who has been working on the issue for months with residents and the 94th Precinct, told me in an email. “This is not about hipsters getting high.”
Yeah, but try telling that to the Post.