UPPER WEST SIDE — Cops have stepped up foot patrols around Columbus Avenue and West 95th Street after separate knifepoint robberies earlier this month, according to a high-ranking police official.
The robberies occurred on April 12 within a 10-minute period on April 12 about 10 p.m., police said. A suspect, man in his 30s, approached the two victims, asked for the time, and pulled a knife on them.
The knife-wielding suspect demanded their cellphones and took off with them, said Deputy Inspector Nancy Barry of the 24th Precinct.
That prompted authorities to send more cops to the neighborhood.
"We have increased officers in that area on foot patrol until he is apprehended," Barry said.
Barry encouraged victims to report crimes right away. Both victims earlier this month didn't tell cops about the crimes until the next day.
"If you are a victim, we ask you to report it right away — that gives us a chance to go out and do a canvas," Barry said.
Cell phone thefts are a persistent problem on the Upper West Side, according to NYPD officials.
"[Cell phone thefts] are the majority of our crimes," the 20th Precinct's Deputy Inspector Brian McGinn recently told residents.
Meanwhile, Barry urged residents to seal their windows as the weather gets warmer.
"We did have a couple of burglaries in the past 28 days that were from windows being left open," she said.
Perpetrators can easily climb up a fire escape and enter or reach into an open window and take property that's easy to grab, like laptops, Barry said.
"One [incident] was on the first-floor level and he was able to put his hand in the window," she said. "Every year, windows are left open and then we get the burglaries."
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime stoppers website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.