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Police Step Up Patrols in Riverside Park After Rash of Property Thefts

By Emily Frost | May 16, 2013 4:38pm
  The little league fields are an area of concern for police, who said kids leave their things unattended .
Police Step Up Patrols in Riverside Park After Property Thefts
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UPPER WEST SIDE — A rash of thefts swept Riverside Park on May 10, including a laptop and cellphone snatching from a group of school children on a field trip, the latest incidents in an uptick of robberies in the area, police said.

In all, there were four reported thefts in the park on May 10, most of which involved people leaving their belongings unattended, according to Inspector Nancy Barry, head of the 24th Precinct. 

"We’re trying to get out there. We are trying to jump on it. We have auxiliaries handing out fliers," Barry said, adding that police are urging locals to be vigilant in watching their belongings.

Barry said the basketball courts and little league field near West 72nd Street in Riverside Park have been a hub for theft — because many people don't keep an eye on their bags.

"We have increased our police presence down there with plain clothes as well as uniform [officers]," she said. 

A crime prevention officer at the 24th Precinct said a parent volunteered to watch the bags in the area around the little league field during games, which cut down on thefts. 

"We try to tell [the kids] to put all of the stuff in a pile like a bonfire," the officer said.

Grand larceny, which is defined as theft of property typically worth more than $400, represent 50 percent of the crimes in the precinct, which spans from West 86th to 110th Street between Central Park West and the Hudson River, Barry said. 

So far this year, there have been 19 property thefts reported in the 24th Precinct — at sites including a CVS, TJ Maxx, Starbucks, Henry's Restaurant, a nursing home, a school and several homes, Barry said.