By Carla Zanoni
UPPER MANHATTAN — An influx of 60 temporary police officers targeted to the lower portion of the 34th Precinct has helped reduce crime in Upper Manhattan, police said Wednesday night.
Robberies jumped from 16 instances to 36 in October and then dropped from 21 to 17 in November. In 2009, there was no comparable drop between October and November, and therefore the recent drop could arguably be attributed to the increased police presence.
In October 2010, auto theft was up from six instances to 12, as compared to last year, but dropped slightly in November with seven car robberies last month, compared to 15 in 2009.
However rape, robbery, felony assault and grand larceny still showed an uptick in the precinct from 2009 to 2010, with rape going up from one to five; robbery up from 17 to 23; felony assault showed a slight increase from 16 to 17 incidents; and grand larceny was 42 incidents versus 35 in the same period last year, according to CompStat statistics.
Those statistics do not reflect petty larceny, such as muggings and car break-ins, which continue to be a problem in the area.
Navarro said muggings on Bennett Avenue, which included the recent assault on a man for his iPad, had been a problem for several weeks, averaging five to six robberies each night.
However, Navarro said a targeted police presence, which neighbors have reported noticing especially at rush hour, has helped whittle that number down to five to six muggings per week now.
"I’m not going to pretend statistics matter to someone who has been the victim of a crime, but I can tell you the numbers do speak for themselves for the first time in weeks," he said of the drop in crime.
Navarro also said the additional 60 police officers had made significant arrests in the "Impact Zone" from 180th Street to 185th Street, between Wadsworth and Amsterdam Avenues, where they have been assigned.
"Those cops are red hot and have been crucial in make drug collars in the area," he said. "We’re not talking marijuana, I’m talking significant narcotics."
As for how long the extra police officers would stay in the area, Navarro has said he was not sure.
"If I had my way I would kidnap every one of them and keep them here," he said during a November police precinct meeting. "They are here indefinitely until my bosses tell me otherwise."