GREENWICH VILLAGE — Police and the Hudson River Park Trust are stepping up security measures at Pier 40 in the West Village after a rash of thefts turned the recreational hub into one of the worst sites for grand larcenies in the entire precinct, authorities said.
The pier, at West Houston Street, has become a thieves' paradise thanks to a combination of valuable goods and bags left unattended by athletes rushing to get to softball, soccer and other games, police said.
"Folks take their iPhone and wallet, put it in their gym bag, put it down and literally run away from it because they're going to play soccer," Deputy Inspector Brandon del Pozo, the commanding officer of the Sixth Precinct, said at a recent community meeting.
The number of thefts of iPhones, iPods, wallets and credit cards at the pier was not immediately available. But del Pozo said the pier is one of the most frequent sites in the neighborhood for grand larcenies, in which items valued at $1,000 or more, including credit cards, are stolen
The only other sites in the precinct with more grand larcenies are the Whole Foods and the DSW shoe outlet in Union Square, police said.
The Village has seen a 9-percent increase in grand larcenies over the past year — from 279 reported incidents last year through April 22, to 304 reported incidents this year within the same period, city crime data shows.
To decrease thefts on Pier 40, precinct officers are ramping up policing of the pier, monitoring surveillance video footage, and posting fliers reminding people to keep an eye on their possessions.
The Hudson River Park Trust, which manages Pier 40, has also been working with police to improve security, a spokeswoman said.
"We have taken measures to address the matter," she said. "These include reminding leagues of the importance of safeguarding property, ordering bins to store personal belongings while on the field and encouraging permit holders to designate attendants to monitor the bins during usage times."
The new storage bins will be installed next week, the spokeswoman added.