By Maria Rocha-Buschel
While crime in the area covered by the 13th Precinct is down overall for the year so far, burglaries and robberies are up. Overall, crime is down 2.4 percent for the year and 8 percent for the month but burglaries are up 37 percent since this time last year and robberies are up 44.8 percent.
The stats were announced by the precinct’s commanding officer, Deputy Inspector David Ehrenberg, at the 13th Precinct’s April community council meeting on Tuesday, April 15.
He added that there has been a slight increase, 1.9 percent, on felony assaults as well, noting that these assaults often become a problem for the precinct because of incidents in the neighborhood hospitals, and attacks on doctors, nurses and peace officers automatically carry a heavier penalty.
Grand larcenies, meanwhile, are actually down 10.9 percent for the year.
“That was the area that was most up last year,” Ehrenberg noted. Grand larcenies have been featured prominently in T&V’s blotter regularly, with a number of victims reporting every month that their property was stolen while left unattended or snatched out of their hands while on the subway.
The increases that the precinct has seen in burglaries is more unusual than previous months, Ehrenberg said, because they are up in residential as opposed to commercial burglaries. The deputy inspector noted that one criminal was busted trying to climb into someone’s apartment through a fire escape in the 6th precinct and Ehrenberg said that he also matched the description of someone breaking in through fire escapes in the 13th, so he said he is hopeful that the arrest will alleviate the problem somewhat.
The meeting was also attended by a number of neighborhood residents with quality of life concerns due to noisy tenants in their building and aggressive homeless people in the vicinity of area shelters. Public housing residents of 224 East 28th Street in the Straus Houses were frustrated because of constant noise in the middle of the night in multiple apartments. One resident noted that police have come to the building to address the problem but that once the cops leave, the noise just starts up again.
“The noise usually comes from two different apartments and I’ve been told that they actually sell tickets for people to get in,” another resident who didn’t want to be named said. “There is underage drinking going on and pot-smoking that permeates through three floors. Strangers have knocked on my door wanting to buy pot. We’ve been dealing with this problem for the last two years.”
Ehrenberg said that while crime in public housing is down and there were more directed patrols in that specific building added recently, they most likely won’t be able to add more police to the building any time soon but he wanted to assure residents that NYCHA buildings are always on their radar.
“We’re responsible for those buildings so what happens there is definitely a concern for us,” he said. “We don’t want you to think that we’re neglecting these buildings. Noise in the middle of the night absolutely shouldn’t be happening.”
One resident of West 25th Street had complaints about recent activity outside the BRC shelter between Sixth and Seventh Avenues. She said what concerned her the most, aside from the drug deals she saw taking place, was a man who appeared to be dealing drugs while accompanied by a child in a stroller.
The deputy inspector noted that the precinct has been meeting regularly with the shelter’s task force and has pushed the BRC to increase their patrols. He added that they’re only able to put foot posts in the higher crime areas, which doesn’t include this particular shelter, but they will be re-evaluating the situation when they get the five new recruits that are supposed to be coming in.
The meeting also included the recognizing of April’s Cop of the Month, Police Officer Phil McGovern.
By Maria Rocha-Buschel