13th Precinct reports thefts up in bars, stairwells and buses
|Deputy Inspector David Ehrenberg discusses the latest crime stats at Tuesday's 13th Precinct Community Council meeting. Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel|
By Maria Rocha-Buschel
The 13th Precinct continues to see crime increases, especially in burglaries and grand larcenies, Deputy Inspector David Ehrenberg said at the monthly community council meeting this past Tuesday evening.
As has been the case for the past few months, Ehrenberg said that the biggest crime increases have come from criminals snatching unattended property and taking items out of bags in restaurants and bars, as well as stairwells and more recently, while victims are riding city buses.
Although there have been recent increases in some types of crime since the beginning of the year, Ehrenberg said that St. Patrick's Day last Sunday didn't contribute. "We were actually down in crime that weekend," he said.
"The pub crawls are not as noticed as they used to be and they're more underground now," community council member Carol Schachter added. "They don't want to call as much attention to it but just because you don't see it doesn't mean it isn't there."
Some residents at the meeting noted that the weather might have been a factor in decreased activity because it was snowing for most of Saturday, but whatever the reason, many at the meeting said that they didn't notice as many people being disruptive and enthusiastically participating in bar crawls.
Ehrenberg emphasized again as he has in previous meetings that a number of criminals are also using ATM skimmers to steal credit card information, which has led to a rise in identity theft as well. The deputy inspector asked that residents keep an eye out for the phone devices that are placed on ATMs because they are generally easy to spot, and he said that this is definitely a crime that is easier to prevent than it is to solve.
Residential burglaries are still down, he said, but commercial burglaries continue to cause problems for the precinct, which generally happen when thieves sneak into buildings and then into offices without their reasons for being there fully investigated.
Ehrenberg also reminded residents that while residential burglaries have been down, summer is on its way and fire escape windows should be locked and monitored, as those are popular modes of entry for criminals looking to break into apartments and other buildings.
Five officers in the anti-crime unit, Officers Hidalgo, Nemo, Valentino, Morales and Negron, were honored as Cops of the Month for their work in catching a burglar who was connected to a number of larcenies at the end of February.