About two years ago, former Riverdale Press reporter Kevin Deutsch got a tip from a source about gang activity in a New York neighborhood where the drug wars had become so intense that parents feared letting their children sleep near the windows in their homes.
But the bullets were not flying in the streets of the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn or Manhattan, as he originally suspected.
The bloodbath was happening at an unlikely place: the suburbs of Long Island.
At the time, Mr. Deutsch was covering the court beat in the Bronx for the Daily News. He said that his days consisted of attending legal proceedings at the Bronx Criminal Court, where the atmosphere was fraught with tensions that Bloods and Crips on trial brought with them into the public building.
It took Mr. Deutsch, who now covers crime for Newsday, about a year to research his new book, “The Triangle: A Year on the Ground with New York’s Bloods and Crips.” While living near Henry Hudson Parkway in Riverdale, the reporter trained his skills on Hempstead, Long Island, a town of about 55,000 people.
In 2012, Bloods and Crips there were feuding over territory where marijuana and cocaine were being sold, Mr. Deutsch’s police source revealed.
“It’s a hidden world and it’s a world that so many young men and women live in,” he said of the people he referred to as “part of the American underclass.”
Mr. Deutsch, 33, explained, “They’ve been left behind by the legitimate economy in America. Lack of education is a barrier. What’s missing from their lives [are] opportunities, examples of other people like them who have gotten out of that life.”
Using his source’s map of the drug-ridden part of Nassau County known as “The Linden Triangle” — based around Linden Avenue and Linden Place — he noticed the three viewpoints that allowed drug dealers to take in every passersby in the area.
“Part of triangle chain are drive-through markets,” explained Mr. Deutsch.