UWS Police Raid Controversial Shelter, Arrest 22 People

By Emily Frost on May 23, 2014 5:36pm 

 The shelter along West 95th Street was raided by police early Friday morning. 
The shelter along West 95th Street was raided by police early Friday morning. 
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DNAinfo/Leslie Albrecht

UPPER WEST SIDE — Police from the 24th Precinct raided a homeless shelter early Friday morning, arresting 22 people with outstanding warrants in response to an uptick of crime in the area.

About five officers from the precinct's special operations unit raided Freedom House, a West 95th Street shelter housing 400 homeless people, between 4:15 a.m. and 6:00 a.m., according to Capt. Marlon Larin, the commanding officer. 

Ongoing neighborhood crime trends and past burglaries and car break-ins prompted police to perform background checks on all the homeless people in the shelter and found 35 of them had outstanding warrants.

During the early morning raid, officers were able to round up 22 individuals with outstanding warrants, police said. 

Ten had records with multiple prior arrests for crimes including drug sales, burglaries, possession of narcotics and grand larceny. One individual had 26 prior arrests and all had at least five previous arrests, according to police. 

Police arrested the 10 individuals, but could not yet reveal the crimes associated with the outstanding warrants. Information about where they were being held was not immediately available.

"[The 10 individuals] have criminal histories that lean towards this type of activity.  Our aim is to return these persons to court and to keep them answerable to the law. If anything, this type of work serves as a deterrent of deviant behavior," said Larin. 

The Department of Homeless Services took responsibility for the other 12 individuals, as part of a "inter-agency joint operation," said Larin. 

DHS did not respond to request for comment.

The Manhattan District Attorney's Office said it could not provide information regarding the charges against the individuals. 

Residents, particularly the neighborhood watch group Neighborhood in the Nineties, have argued the shelter residents don't have enough support services and have contributed to an uptick in quality of life crimes like public intoxication, car break-ins and fights, among others, in the area. 

The city agreed to cut the shelter's population by half by Nov. 1.

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