Some of Manhattan's wealthiest neighborhoods are exploding in a wave of violent crime that hearkens back to the bad old days when people feared going out at night, according to NYPD data obtained by The Post.
Chelsea, Gramercy Park, TriBeCa, SoHo and Midtown South all posted a frightening rise in rapes in the first three months of 2013 compared with the same period in 2012. Felony assaults in the usually peaceful West Village nearly tripled, the new crime
Greenwich Village's 6th Precinct tied the Rockaways' grimy 100th Precinct for the city's biggest year-to-date overall crime spike.
"We are the new 42nd Street before it was cleaned up. All of those problems came here," lamented Robert Ziegler, 48, the co-owner of the Boots & Saddle bar on Christopher Street.
"I've been here for 15 years, and this last four or five years is the worst I thought I'd ever see it.
"But these past few months, it's gotten worse."
Increases in rapes, felony assault and grand larceny sent Village crime stats rocketing 28.7 percent during the Jan. 1-to-April 7 reporting period, the figures show.
The 13th Precinct (Gramercy) and the 1st Precinct (TriBeCa, SoHo and the Financial District) each reported five rapes since January, up from two each in the same period a year ago.
Chelsea's 10th Precinct recorded four rapes, up from none a year ago, and saw a 61.5 percent hike in felony assaults, from 13 to 21.
The West Village's 6th Precinct reported 44 felony assaults so far this year - up from 16 - for a 175 percent spike, while grand larceny jumped 36.6 percent to 351 incidents, against 257. There were two rapes, compared with one a year ago.
"It's a crying shame, because this is one of the highest-rent neighborhoods in the city," said Ziegler, who is part of the West Village Coalition to stop violence. "To have a crime rate comparable to the Rockaways, it's just disgusting."
Police sources said bar brawls account for about a quarter of increases in West Village felony assaults - and they also were a factor in Chelsea's spike in assaults.
All of the wealthy lower Manhattan neighborhoods saw an increase in grand larcenies, with Gramercy's 13th Precinct coming in right behind the Village, with a 28.5 percent increase.
Part of the increase is attributable to personal-property thefts in bars, police sources said.
"You'll find a lot of people with nice property who aren't being very attentive toward it," one source said.
Meanwhile, precincts in Manhattan South's historically more crime-addled neighborhoods, including Chinatown, the Lower East Side, East Village and Midtown North, all saw overall crime decline compared with a year ago, figures show.
Their performance helped keep Manhattan South's overall crime increase at just under 6 percent, with a total of 3,928 incidents compared with 3,708 a year ago.
Overall, rapes jumped 30.8 percent; grand larceny was up 9.5 percent; felony assault rose 9.4 percent; burglary ticked up 1 percent, car thefts fell 5.9 percent and robberies dropped 18.6 percent - a decline attributed in part to the cold winter. Murders were flat, at 2 in both 2013 and 2012.
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