By Maria Rocha-Buschel
With the election coming in November, candidates for City Council as well as those canvassing for them should take note: Stuy Town is off limits.
Stuyvesant Town’s general manager Rick Hayduk said at a meeting this week held by the 13th Precinct Community Council that while door-knocking isn’t illegal in the city, it is against the “house rules” on the property.
His comment was in response to a complaint from a resident at the meeting who said door-knockers were roaming the complex before the primary election in September.
Hayduk agreed that “It was pretty rampant (during the primary).”
The resident, who didn’t give her name at the meeting, claimed that the influx of non-residents frustrated her because it was happening frequently and it made her uncomfortable to see strangers freely roaming the halls.
“I don’t care if another resident let them in; I don’t know who any of them are and they were everywhere,” she said. She didn’t identify specific candidates that the volunteers were representing.
Town & Village previously reported that Stuyvesant Town resident Ken Chanko experienced this rule first hand when volunteering for Bernie Sanders’ campaign during the spring before the presidential primaries. Public Safety stopped Chanko from leaf- leting inside the buildings the week before the election. A campaign representative then told Chanko that the campaign was informed it needed a permit to door-knock, although the NYPD later told T&V this is not the case. As it turned out, the issue turned to be a Stuy Town-specific rule rather than a permit issue. Hayduk told this newspaper at the time that the policy is specified in residents’ leases, and is in place for tenant safety and quality of life.
Hayduk noted during the recent meeting that management would be sending out notices prior to Election Day to remind residents that knocking on doors in the complex isn’t permitted.
“It was being somewhat allowed (during the recent primary) because residents (were involved),” he said. “But residents shouldn’t be doing it either.”
Mail fishing concerns
At the meeting, another complaint of local concern involved possible check theft.
Peter Cooper Village resident and Tenants Association board member Anne Greenberg mentioned that she’s been hearing about checks being stolen after getting dropped in mailboxes near Stuy Town and Peter Cooper. In response, Deputy Inspector Brendan Timoney, commanding officer of the 13th Precinct, said that a suspect was arrested near East 14th Street and Third Avenue in the last week after being followed by postal inspectors who saw him rifling through a mailbox.
Timoney added that while some “mail fishing” incidents were reported earlier this year in the spring, that investigation is still ongoing, although the Postal Police said they have recovered all of the stolen mailbox keys.
He also recommended avoiding mailboxes that are sticky around the opening because some thieves will use rat glue to trap envelopes and steal checks.
Crime down overall, but thefts are up
Timoney also updated residents on overall crime in the neighborhood, which is down overall but up in the usual areas: property crimes, specifically theft and commercial burglaries.
Timoney said that grand larceny is up 22 percent in the precinct, with a number of incidents being the result of unattended bags that were stolen from neighborhood parks. Timoney added that there have also been a handful of arrests relating to these crimes, two of which happened in the last week. (Details are in Town & Village’s Police Watch.)
“People are making it easy for what I call these ‘bottom-feeders,’ these guys who are not violent and are just looking for things that are not attached to people,” he said, pointing out that multiple bags have been stolen because their owners left them on the ground nearby and got distracted. “Your property should be attached to you.”
Timoney added he felt that building supers and doormen could be doing more to prevent burglaries.
“There are a lot that can be prevented by owners,” he said. “People working at the doors are becoming lackadaisical. Doormen are just letting anyone in and out without checking where they’re going.”
Burglaries at offices and businesses have been more common than at apartments, but Timoney noted that since the holiday season is coming, residents should be mindful about letting non-residents inside because of the increase of packages there might be in building lobbies.
Timoney also said that there have also been multiple apartment break-ins where the culprits push in air conditioning units that haven’t been securely installed to get inside through the window.