Youth crime up in Gramercy, cops say

Deputy Inspector Steven Hellman (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Robberies and burglaries committed by teenagers have been increasing since the end of last year, Deputy Inspector Steven Hellman reported at the 13th Precinct Community Council’s most recent meeting this past Tuesday.

“Trends [in robberies] that we were seeing at the end of last year carried over into the beginning of this year,” Hellman said.

Hellman said that while the precinct’s apprehension rate is “very good,” he wants the command to be more preventive so that the incidents don’t occur in the first place, part of which requires youth outreach. Robberies overall are up 36% for the year so far.

The NYPD will be rolling out a new youth program in March, partially in response to the increase in youth crime, which will work in conjunction with and under the structure of the neighborhood policing program that was implemented in the 13th precinct in October 2018.

Hellman noted that of the suspects who were arrested for robbery last year, 64% were under the age of 18 and 24% were residents of the Administration for Children’s Services facility on First Avenue, so the precinct will continue to work with ACS conducting outreach.

An attendee at the meeting asked if bail reform, which eliminated cash bail for a range of offenses, had anything to do with the increase in crime, and a representative from the NYPD’s legal department was at the meeting to clarify misconceptions about the new rules.

“There were genuine problems with the old system because it was unfair,” Michael Clarke, a managing attorney for the NYPD’s legal bureau, said. “People charged with the same crime [were being treated differently] depending on who could pay bail and that doesn’t really have an impact on public safety.”

Clarke added that there are still adjustments that need to be made and the NYPD is pushing to give judges the discretion to keep a suspect imprisoned if they are considered dangerous.

Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association President Susan Steinberg was at the meeting to request an update and more information about a previous incident in which a Peter Cooper Village resident was scammed by men claiming that her grandson needed money for bail and managing to steal more than $9,000 from her. The suspects attempted to take thousands more from the victim but she became suspicious and didn’t hand over the second payment. The suspects were caught on surveillance video when they went to meet the victim but Hellman said that as of this week, they have not been arrested.

“We do want to spread awareness about these scams that take place over the phone, and the elderly especially get taken advantage of,” Hellman said. “It doesn’t drive our grand larceny but we do monitor it.”

6 thoughts on “Youth crime up in Gramercy, cops say

  1. I suspect the commander might have answered the bail “reform” question differently. Instead, the Legal Bureau chose to interject with the mayor’s party line. “Nothing to see here, folks. Keep moving.”

  2. How can the NYPD ever prevent phone scams? Speaking of scams, where is the usual obligatory picture of that other big fraud, Steinberg? Yeah, “outreach” is The Answer to everything….

    • NYPD can’t prevent the scam; but in this case, since the perps came to collect in person, there should be surveillance footage that might ID them.

  3. Any news of arrests? Perps are probably in another state or country by now. Only hope is if some acquaintance of theirs contacts PD in hopes of a possible reward. Of course, Wanted posters aren’t permitted here by Blackstone–might discourage potential (sucker) tenants. And is the TA going to step in and assist the victim financially, since Susan has plenty of (ill-gotten) funds in the bank, and feigns concern? Maybe the TA should offer a reward…

    • Are these repliies moderated????

      Or can any smartass get on here and make unsupported allegations of wrong-doing by members of the community (anonymously, of course, because recklessness and anonymity go hand-in-hand. Ask the graffitti taggers.)

      Maria???

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