By Maria Rocha-Buschel
While crime has been down overall in the 13th Precinct this past month, the area has been having problems with residential burglaries and grand larcenies.
Deputy Inspector Brendan Timoney shared the stats at a 13th Precinct Community Council meeting on Tuesday, including the fact there has been a 100 percent increase in burglaries. Most of these were residential.
East 25th Street has been a particularly popular area for these criminals, with eight of these incidents taking place on that street between Second and Third Avenue. Timoney noted that there haven’t been any arrests in these incidents and although the NYPD has video for two of the burglaries, they have no other leads for the others and so far have made no arrests.
“It’s all about locking the doors and windows,” he said. “There’s lots of construction work being done in that area and workers and supers are leaving the doors wide open and people who don’t belong there are getting into the building.”
He added that some of the burglaries are also the result of home cleaners and contractors that aren’t trustworthy, resulting in valuables being taken from apartments.
“You really have to vet the people that you’re hiring,” he advised. “Look into the company and see if the employees have a history of stealing.”
The spike in grand larcenies in the last month, a 20 percent increase, has been concentrated in the southern part of the precinct, specifically around Beth Israel Medical Center near Union Square and the cafes nearby, where laptops and other personal belongings have been stolen after people leave them at tables while going to get coffee or food. Timoney noted that Eataly at 200 Fifth Avenue has also been a hotbed for these thefts, and warned residents not to leave their belongings unattended at a table.
Robberies have also increased by 11 percent for the last month and 30 percent for the year. Seven of the robberies in the last month were bank robberies, with three being part of a pattern.
Felony assaults have decreased in the last month by 43 percent, and Timoney said that a number of these incidents were domestic violence as well as assaults on peace officers at the hospitals in the neighborhood.
PS 116 parent and PTA co-president Nicole Giacco was at the meeting because of an incident that occurred near the school in the last month in which a cab passenger’s phone was stolen by a group of teenagers nearby around the time that school was being let out. She said that she was concerned about how such an incident would affect the school and asked if there was any kind of protocol in place to notify the school of this kind of incident.
Timoney said that during this kind of incident, there isn’t any way of notifying the school but he also noted that there was no threat to the students because the incident didn’t involve anyone from the school.
“This is the kind of thing that comes up quickly, but there was no danger to the school,” he said. “Something like this isn’t likely to happen again.”
An employee for SoulCycle was also at the meeting to lodge a complaint about street harassment around the location on West 27th Street at Broadway. She said she didn’t feel comfortable sharing much of the specific language targeted at her and other patrons of the business, but did say that one frequent comment was, “Hey, beautiful.”
When Timoney claimed that this doesn’t constitute harassment, she clarified that the men saying this also block women’s path on the sidewalk and the deputy inspector conceded that this was a more serious problem that the NYPD could look into.
“We do have a foot post up there but we’re working on getting more,” he said. “If they’re blocking your way, that’s a different level of harassment.”
Also during Tuesday’s meeting, police officer Kenny Francis was awarded Cop of the Month for catching a burglar in the act at the end of January.