Gramercy Park Block Association - Neighborhood News #500
Next 13th Precinct Community Council Meeting - Tues. 2/18
The 13th Precinct Community Council will host its monthly meeting on Tuesday, February 18th at 6:30 p.m. The meeting is open to the public, and officers from the 13th Precinct will give updates on crime in the neighborhood and will hear concerns from residents. The meeting will be held at the 13th Pct station house on E 21st St between 2nd and 3rd avenues.

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Thursday, January 30, 2014


13th Precinct reports hike in crime

By Maria Rocha-Buschel 


Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel
The winter's most recent snowstorm thwarted the 13th Precinct Community Council's monthly meeting last week, but the weather does not seem to have thwarted criminals in the neighborhood. Thirteenth precinct Deputy Inspector David Ehrenberg told Town & Village this Monday that crime was up this month, especially in robberies and burglaries. 


Grand larceny, a crime that is usually a problem for the neighborhood, was down in the past month but Ehrenberg said that car break-ins have increased. Cops have often advised residents at the community council meetings not to leave expensive items out in the open while at Starbucks or in restaurants. Although car break-ins are classified differently, Ehrenberg noted that they happen for similar reasons.


"People have been leaving expensive items out in the open in their cars," he said. "There have been computers, golf clubs and electronic equipment just left out for anyone to see. In almost all the cases, they're leaving very valuable stuff in their cars. There were even cases where boxes of gifts were stolen. It was after Christmas but someone had $2,000 worth of gifts stolen from their car."


Ehrenberg said that they've had some arrests for car break-ins, including a career criminal, but those crimes are usually difficult to solve. 


"In most cases, there's no evidence," he said. 


Police are still looking for the crooks responsible for recent burglaries at a jewelry store and a Starbucks on Third Avenue at East 15th Street. Although arrests haven't been made in either case, Ehrenberg said that the police think the two crimes are connected.  


As Town & Village reported last week, a man entered the Starbucks at 145 Third Avenue on January 16 around 9:30 p.m. He allegedly pulled a gun on the two baristas who were working and ordered them to lie down on the floor, where he tied their hands with zip ties. Police said that he swiped about $3,000 in cash from the register and then fled. Neither of the victims was hurt during the incident. 


Ehrenberg noted that there has been an increase of both residential and commercial burglaries, like crimes such as the incident at Starbucks, but also apartment break-ins that occur. The 13th Precinct often has an increase in thefts from apartments during the summer months because residents are more likely to leave their windows or balcony doors open but Ehrenberg said that thieves have been getting into apartments lately because people are just leaving their doors and windows unlocked. 


Other cases of theft have occurred because there should have been someone keeping an eye out for suspicious characters but there wasn't, and in all kinds of different establishments. 


"It's been happening in restaurants, five and ten stores, or apartment building where there's a porter that should be there but isn't, and then there are other individuals that come in and some people don't realize those individuals don't belong there," Ehrenberg said. 


Robberies have been up in the neighborhood but one arrest was made in a reported case from this past month. Kalief Jackson of Marcus Garvey Boulevard in Brooklyn was arrested last Wednesday and police say that the teen is responsible for a string of robberies throughout Manhattan, including the alleged mugging of a woman who was in the elevator of a building on Stuyvesant Oval. 


Ehrenberg noted that the increase in robberies was unusual for the precinct. "We finished last year down in robbery, and it's a crime we've seen good progress in," he said, although he added that Jackson's arrest was a positive step because he is thought to be responsible for more than one of the incidents.