THE BRONX - Neighbors hope Wednesday's historic gang raids improve the safety and living conditions at the Eastchester Gardens NYCHA housing complex, but not all nearby residents are sure it will.
Some members of the community said they had no idea that when their children were at Eastchester Playground, they were actually playing in a gang's headquarters.
Officials said most residents in the area are law-abiding citizens, and the reason for the raids was to make life safer for those people.
"The vast majority are hardworking families trying to make a living, raise their families and to go to school in peace," said U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara. "But for years, as we allege, 2 Fly terrorized residents of Eastchester Gardens, maintaining a stranglehold on the housing complex and the surrounding areas."
Federal prosecutors said the gangs hid guns and dealt drugs for years. After a major surge in violence in 2014, federal agents said they began an investigation involving over 700 law enforcement personnel from different agencies. This led to the charging of approximately 120 people today.
"I feel safer in a way," said resident Barbara Robinson. "Bad people are just bad people and then in the long run, innocent people get hurt."
But some residents said they are still unsure about whether the community is safe.
"Everyday something happens here," said Ana Carelo, who lives nearby. "Almost every day that's why I don't wanna stay here anymore. I wanna go somewhere else."