By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Robbery and burglary are up in the neighborhood, Deputy Inspector Steven Hellman reported at the 13th precinct’s monthly Community Council meeting this past Tuesday. Both crimes are up by 50% in the last 28 day period, Hellman said, with a citywide bank robbery pattern contributing to the increase in the number of robberies for the precinct.
Robberies have been an issue for the precinct for the last few months as well, particularly ones committed by teenagers who live at the Administration for Children’s Services facility on First Avenue just north of Bellevue, but Hellman said that none of the robberies from the last few weeks have been attributed to ACS kids. Three teens have been arrested in the last month for robberies out of 21 incidents, Hellman specified, but none of them live at the ACS facility.
Hellman said that there are currently three patterns that are affecting the increase in robberies and burglaries for the precinct. One is attributed to a bank robbery pattern in which a man who doesn’t have a weapon passes a note to tellers and demands cash. Hellman said that the pattern is citywide, with four of the incidents occurring in the 13th precinct.
One man has been arrested in connection with an unrelated bank robbery that occurred the Citibank in Stuy Town at 262 First Avenue near East 15th Street on Wednesday, October 9 at 11:25 a.m. Police arrested 58-year-old David Thacker for the alleged robbery after he allegedly passed a note to a teller demanding money. When police arrived at the scene to respond to the incident, Thacker was still inside. The person at the bank who called the police pointed Thacker out and he was arrested. No money was given to Thacker at the time of the incident.
“We also have two incidents in another pattern where we see delivery persons that are using e-bikes who are being robbed,” Hellman said of other additional robberies in the precinct. “That’s another citywide pattern.”
One of the burglary patterns throughout Manhattan in recent weeks involves a man who has allegedly been breaking into businesses in the middle of the night.
“There’s an eight-hit pattern in the whole borough, and it’s an individual on the overnights who is hitting bars and clubs and restaurants,” he said. “He’s getting into them, forcing his way in the door.”
Despite the increase in robberies and burglaries lately, Hellman said that crime is actually down overall for the precinct by 8% for the month and about 1% for the year. He attributed the continued decrease to the Neighborhood Policing program.
“I tribute that to our communication [with the community],” he said. “We have constant, relentless follow up. We’re hearing complaints in the community and we see where we need to improve.”
Melanie Aucello, a resident of 344 East 28th Street, was at the meeting to thank the precinct and Hellman for the work the NCO officers have done for the neighborhood but said that her building has been dealing with a lack of lighting recently.
“We have additional spotlights that were added but they’re not working and vendors who are out at 5 a.m. are scared because it’s pitch black,” she said.
Hellman and the NCOs that work specifically with the NYCHA developments in the precinct have been working with the building to make sure that it is well-lit, and he said that he would follow up to make sure that the lights were working again.