Uptown NYPD Precincts See Uptick in Crime Post-Sandy
UPPER MANHATTAN — Nearly a month after Hurricane Sandy struck New York City, its impact is being felt in an area largely unaffected by the storm.
Police say the 33rd and 34th precincts, both of which sent some of its force to help with the recovery effort Downtown and in the outer boroughs, have seen a slight uptick in robberies and burglaries.
"I can attest to the 12-hour tours that we've been having since the hurricane started," said Capt. Vincent Greeny, an executive officer at the 33rd Precinct, during a Community Board 12 meeting in early November. "Our company is stretched thin; our whole department is stretched thin."
The precinct saw a slight increase in robberies throughout the month, with 30.8 percent jump in burglaries and 33.4 spike in petit larceny, according to CompStat. Overall, crime in the precinct over the last year has remained flat, jumping just .13 percent from 2011.
Greeny said the uptick in robberies in the 33rd Precinct were largely carried out by teenagers in the neighborhood who had robbed residents of iPhones and assorted electronics. He added that five arrests had been made and investigations were ongoing into whether the suspects were responsible for other crimes in the precinct.
The 34th Precinct has seen a decrease a 14.1 decrease this year compared to 2011, according to CompStat, but the precinct saw an uptick in burglaries in November. Perpetrators entered homes by walking along fire escapes and entering apartments through windows left open now that buildings have turned on the heat, police said.
Deputy Inspector Barry Buzzetti of the 34th Precinct said the police were successful in arresting a group of teens responsible for some of the burglaries. He added that the precinct is dealing with the "overstretched" force by shuffling policing assignments to fill in for staff assigned to Sandy-affected areas.
"We are addressing this by utilizing police officers normally assigned to other functions (crime prevention, training, summons enforcement, etc.) for patrol duties," he wrote in an email recently.
Buzzetti also called on the community's help in addressing the crimes.
"We ask that residents always lock their windows and install security gates to make it harder for these crimes to be committed," he said.
With additional reporting by Victoria Bekiempis.