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Chelsea's Decrepit Doorknobs a Magnet for Criminals, Cops Warn

By Mathew Katz | March 29, 2013 6:35am

CHELSEA — Cops in Chelsea want locals to watch out — for decrepit doorknobs.

Police at the NYPD's 10th Precinct said an uptick in recent burglaries in the area came largely from thieves who easily snapped off weak or old doorknobs and broke into apartments.

Overall, the precinct saw 11 burglaries over the 28-day period ending March 24, up from just two for the same time last year. Four of the recent burglaries involved thieves targeting derelict doorknobs, said Deputy Inspector Elisa Cokkinos, the precinct's commanding officer.

"It's broken doorknobs, so the doorknobs on the residences weren't really that secure to begin with," Cokkinos said at Wednesday's meeting of the precinct's community council.

"So, crime prevention-wise, we ask that your doors are secured properly, that they have the proper kind of lock on them, and if you don't, you should speak with your manager of your building or your super."

In a separate incident, a man, who was later arrested, entered his girlfriend's apartment without her permission to get some of his jewelry back, Cokkinos said.

Two of the other burglaries that were unrelated to aging doorknobs occurred at construction sites, two were on trucks and three occurred at commercial properties, Cokkinos said.

The pattern is part of an overall slight rise in crime so far this year, including the increase in felony assaults, which Cokkinos discussed during last month's meeting.

The number of robberies remained about the same — there were eight reported incidents during the 28-day period, up from seven during the same period last year. But cops have arrested four suspects and closed three of these robbery cases, Cokkinos said.

"We see a little bit of an increase in crime, but we have some good arrests to back that up," she said.