Dozens of Greenpoint residents crowded a church basement on the west edge of McGolrick Park on Thursday night to question officers from the 94th Precinct about recent reports of assaults on women in the neighborhood, including an alleged rape that has been widely discussed on social media.

"We haven't seen any signs [posted] in the neighborhood or increased police presence, and yet we all know people who know this girl," said Sarah Sealy, a Greenpoint resident, referring to the alleged rape victim.

In the absence of concrete information from the police, some said they suspect a particular group of teenagers that gathers near-daily in the park, on the Monitor Street side, some of whom have been accused of vandalism and assault in the past. "A lot of what was being said is that it was teenagers of mixed race," said one local shop owner, who asked that her name be withheld for fear of retribution. "Then our minds immediately, for a lot of us, go to these kids."

On September 13th around 2 a.m., police say a 34-year-old Greenpoint woman was assaulted by three males of unknown age, possibly on Sutton Street between Driggs and Nassau Avenues, and sustained "cuts and bruises to her neck and hip area." A message posted on Facebook on the 15th by a friend of the victim, and reposted numerous times since, describes the assault as a rape committed by a group of teenagers. The posting states that the victim was also stabbed in the side of her neck.

A 36-year-old woman was knocked to the ground from behind on Driggs Avenue on September 14th—possibly by a group of teenagers, according to the victim. Other reports include a woman robbed by two men on North Henry Street earlier this month, and another robbed while sitting on a bench in the park. Police have not confirmed any connections between these incidents, and according to the precinct's second-in-command, who was on hand for the meeting, details about the purported rape that has galvanized the community are shaky.

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Police said earlier this week that one victim was allegedly assaulted on Sutton Street between Nassau and Driggs. (Scott Heins / Gothamist)

"I feel a little awkward that we're here because of an incident that it's really hard for us to respond to, because we don't have an official report of the crime that's been circulating around on the internet," Captain Stefan Komar said Thursday. "We're not, at this point, getting the cooperation that we need [from the victim]."

"I don't want to come across as being insensitive," Komar added. "Maybe it's because this person doesn't want too much attention. It could be embarrassing. But we have specialists who deal with this as professionals, and we still haven't been able to get an exact location. At this point we're not even sure if it happened in this neighborhood."

Many attendees acknowledged that there is a disconnect (a "gulf," according to meeting organizer Emily Gallagher) between the warnings and commentary circulating online, and the information 94th Precinct officers have provided.

"If the victim doesn't feel comfortable pressing charges, that doesn't mean it didn't happen," said Jenny Makholm, a resident of 12 years. "That just means a criminal investigation can't happen."

Others said the 94th Precinct was to blame—that the police seldom respond to their calls in a timely manner, and that, anecdotally, there seems to be a lack of empathy for women bringing assault allegations.

"When I'm telling people, 'Did you hear anything? What's going on?' What I am getting from a lot of people, and it's a lot of females, is that the 94th Precinct doesn't do anything," said Debbie Tenney, a longtime resident. "Now, if this is the impression they are getting, maybe that's why people aren't reporting what's happening."

"I would feel better if I saw cops patrolling," she added.

Komar said that the precinct is in the process of shifting officers to the eastern piece of its jurisdiction near the park, a ten-to-fifteen-minute walk from the closest subway stations, and a distance from the bustle of North Williamsburg's commercial strips.

"We're gravitating to this area a lot more," Komar said. "This is a very quiet area of the precinct, compared to others. I'm sure you can imagine how busy we are on Bedford Avenue, on Wythe Avenue."

Brooklyn Assemblyman Joseph Lentol sent a letter to NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill on Thursday, requesting additional officers for the 94th and 90th precincts in response to the assault allegations and a recent shooting on the Williamsburg waterfront.

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(Scott Heins / Gothamist)

"Let's talk about our own fears and our own experiences, rather than things that we heard or people that we think are at fault," urged Gallagher, the meeting facilitator, on Thursday.

Yet many locals peppered accounts of their own experiences with secondhand accounts, and reports of park vandalism from years past. Accusations against local teenagers ranged from quality-of-life offenses like weed-smoking, drinking and vandalism, to verbal and physical assault, including reports of friends and acquaintances struck with rocks and bats. One woman said teens in the park called her friend racial slurs.

"They're rowdy, they're disrespectful to property, plants, trees, people," said a 55-year-old woman who's lived in the neighborhood for eight years. "I don't know how much can come of this regarding these specific [assault] crimes, but I know I speak for a lot of people."

Sam Parks, who moved to Greenpoint three weeks ago from the Lower East Side, was nonplussed by the milder allegations. "I spent 30 years of my life skateboarding, and if I was their age I'd be doing the exact same thing, because why the hell not?" he said. "The concern is that people have attached this weird run-for-your-life mentality to these kids."

At the end of Thursday's meeting, most of the community suggestions for increasing safety involved steering teenagers out of the park.

"Classical music in the park has been shown to drive out young people," said Makholm. "There's this thing called the mosquito that's a certain pitch that young people can hear but we cannot. So, some out-of-the box solutions that don't necessarily go into direct confrontation with these young people, but direct them elsewhere."

Later, she described the ideas as crime prevention solutions, as many women feel "abandoned and [that] their concerns for safety are dismissed by the authorities."

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A 36-year-old woman said she was knocked to the ground on Driggs Avenue around 5:00 p.m. on September 14th (Scott Heins / Gothamist)

On Thursday afternoon, a group of about 10 young men in their late teens and early twenties sat along a row of benches on the eastern edge of McGolrick Park, near Monitor Street, passing a joint. They said they hadn't heard about the planned community meeting, but had seen the rape allegations on Facebook.

"This is pretty much all we do," said one member of the group (everyone present declined to provide a name). "We sit here and smoke pot. I don't know why people think we would do something like that—why we would even be associated with something like that."

"I understand we're a pretty rowdy crowd," he added.

"Smoking weed don't make you go kill people and rape people," added another one of the group. "You chill the fuck out."

"I think it's people from other neighborhoods who come here," said another. "They do it and they just dip."

"I don't know if they're to blame,” said Heather, who lives on the Monitor side of the park, later that evening. "I think that's one of the largest problems. We don't know who to look for. We don't know who to be cautious for, so then people are just like, maybe it's them.”