Reader opinions: Crime in the city

In our last issue, Town & Village asked readers if thoughts of crime in this city affect their daily routines. We also asked, “Do you avoid certain streets or going out at certain times?”

Here are a few responses:

Martha Wolberg says, “I’ve lived in this neighborhood for 40 years. I have never felt safer. When I moved here, it was quite dangerous. Now, I can come home at 2 or 3 in the morning and there is no problem. I live on 14th Street between Second and First Avenues. All the bars in the neighborhood make it very safe – there are always people hanging out late at night.”

Kay Vota says, “It is always wise to be cautious. Once I was being followed in subway facility and I led guy straight to a cop! Once I was followed on the streets of NYC and I ducked into a building with a doorman and told him I was being followed. Once I started out of my garage back door and a giant man was on the steps and I slammed the door, called Public Safety and an officer arrived in a matter of minutes. I do not answer phone calls that I do not recognize the number. A lot of seniors live in our community and we are harassed by spoofing (an official phone number that is faked by some techie device) pretending to be the IRS with threats about being arrested if we don’t call right back. Stuy Town Public Safety when under William McClellan offered a course to tenants, teaching ways of protecting oneself when attacked. The same people taught us that taught Public Safety officers. I thought it was very valuable. Finally, if someone comes to your door claiming to be some kind of inspector, do not open your door. Tell them you will call public safety to escort them in to your home. Also, if you have home aids, be sure to have a closet key to lock valuables so there will be no temptation for anyone to steal what is too easily accessible. Better safe than sorry! And another thing, always trust but verify.”

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Question for readers: Construction

Question for our readers this week: Is the city too easy on construction infractions like lack of permits and higher than allowable noise levels? We welcome readers’ insight at editor@townvillage.net or in comments on this post. Please specify if you would like to remain anonymous.

What should straphangers do when witnessing violence? T&V readers weigh in

In our last issue, Town & Village asked readers for their thoughts on what sensible actions can be taken by straphangers who witness acts of violence. Our question came on the heels of police releasing portions of a video showing a man threatening a fellow straphanger with a knife after he tried to intervene when seeing the other man hit his toddler. (The suspect, seen on the E train in Greenwich Village, has since been arrested.)

Read on for reader responses:

Eric Juhola said, “I think the best thing we can do is take out our phones and film the situation. On the one hand, it might inspire the perpetrator to behave reminding him or her that they are being watched. On the other hand, you will be providing authorities with evidence that can be used to apprehend the perpetrator and used in court against the person.

“Stepping in and getting involved might be right for some people, but it’s also dangerous. You just don’t know if the perpetrator has a weapon and there are far too many stories of knife slashings on subways for no apparent reason. I will admit, there is also risk in filming as that can be seen as an act of aggression, but I think it’s better than doing nothing and most times we have to take a little risk outside our comfort zones to stand up and do what’s right.”

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Question of the week for our readers

Many homeless people choose to stay away from shelters, instead opting to spend the night in places like bank vestibules or, in better weather, on park benches. Loitering in bank ATM areas and being in parks after hours are arrestable offenses.

Our questions for readers on this issue are: Is seeing a homeless person doing either of these things enough to prompt you to call the police? Additionally, is the presence of a homeless person in the aforementioned places enough to make you avoid doing business at a bank or enjoying a park?

Please send responses to editor@townvillage.net, including name. We will withhold names upon request.

Q: To offer or not offer a seat on the bus to an older person?

Apr14 M23

The M23 bus (Photo courtesy of the MTA)

The question of the week is just how old should someone look for a younger person to give up his or her seat on the bus or subway? Town & Village welcomes reader opinions on this question after hearing an M23 rider, when being offered a seat by another passenger, remark to his companion who boarded with him and took a nearby empty seat, “I guess we’re old.”

This question (possibly the first in a series), explores whether it’s worse to offer — and potentially upset someone who doesn’t want to be seen as old — or not offer a seat to someone who looks like they may need it out of concern it may hurt the individual’s feelings. The same goes for individuals who may (or may not be) pregnant.

We would like to publish readers’ thoughts, with anonymity provided upon request. Email editor@townvillage.net.