By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Captain Brendan Timoney, who hosted his first community council meeting as the new commanding officer of the 13th Precinct on Tuesday, told residents that the neighborhood is still having some of the same old problems with grand larceny.
That crime is up by about 6.7 percent in the last month and Timoney noted that the precinct is specifically tracking a pattern in which a black man on a bicycle seems to be targeting women distracted by their smart phones. So far, 13 women have been victims of the thief, who rides on the sidewalk behind them and grabs their phone while they’re not paying attention. Four of them had their purses stolen but Timoney said that the rest had their phones snatched right out of their hands and he added that with some of the incidents, there is video surveillance available that shows the women’s inattention to who and what is around them.
“Know your surroundings,” advised Timoney, who was transferred to the 13th Precinct seven weeks ago. “Many of them had their heads buried in the phone and didn’t even see the guy coming.”
While the phone and purse snatchings contributed to the increases, Timoney said that theft of unattended items also continues to be a problem for the precinct, where bar and restaurant goers are leaving their bags and phones behind while they go to get a drink.
“Get the word out to your friends to keep your property in your sights at all times,” he advised.
In addition to grand larceny, Timoney said that crime is currently experiencing a spike in the 13th Precinct and was up slightly overall in the last month.