Thefts keep rising in 13th Precinct
Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel
By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Thirteenth Precinct Deputy Inspector David Ehrenberg said at the Community Council meeting this past Tuesday evening that crime has continued to increase throughout the neighborhood. Grand larcenies still make up the bulk of crimes committed in the precinct, making up 78 percent of the crime, but the surprising statistic was the increase in the number of rapes.
The Deputy Inspector said that there have been five this year so far, compared to only two by the same time last year. He noted that he had been approached by a number of people before the meeting asking about this statistic because it was mentioned in a story by the New York Post last Saturday, which pointed to the increase in violent crime in the neighborhood lately.
However, according to Ehrenberg, while the crimes had definitely occurred, the circumstances were not exactly as the Post presented them.
"The article made it sound like these were attacks on the street, which isn't the case," he said.
"Two of the rapes (earlier this year) were reported for this precinct because the victims either didn't know or couldn't remember where they had been assaulted and they were taken to the hospitals in the precinct. In the case of the other three, they were considered rape because of the age of the victims." He added that while these were definitely still considered a crime because the victims were minors and could not legally consent, they were not random attacks.
Despite this unexpected increase, Ehrenberg emphasized that grand larcenies were still driving crime. He added that residential burglaries are periodically causing a problem as well and reminded those attending the meeting that the best way to prevent this is to make sure doors and windows are locked before leaving home.
Police officer John Considine of Community Affairs said at the meeting that the 13th precinct has increased the number of patrol officers in the neighborhood in the wake of the bombings at the Boston Marathon on Monday. Considine said that the increased patrol officers are in Union Square and around the Flatiron, as well as Madison Square Park. He noted that the number of critical response vehicles have increased throughout the area as well.
As always, the meeting was not without complaints from area residents about the continued poor conduct of bicycle delivery people from local restaurants.
Ehrenberg assured residents that the precinct has not abandoned the effort to crack down on restaurant delivery people on bikes who ride recklessly on the sidewalk and don't have bicycle lights at night and Executive Officer Frank Sorenson said that 20 percent of the summonses issued this past month have been for bicycles.
"We're down in bike accidents and up in summonses," he said.
Teresa Navarro from the Stein Senior Center also spoke at the meeting about the Crime Victim Services Victim Assistance program that is available at the center. She said that the New York State Office of Victims Services provides funding for the program and it allows New Yorkers to be compensated if they have been the victim of a crime. For a victim to be considered for compensation, the crime has to have taken place in New York State and a police report documenting the crime needs to be filed.
Navarro can be reached at (646) 395-8083, x113 from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.