HELL'S KITCHEN — The new commanding officer of the NYPD's Midtown North Precinct pledged to fight thefts and deal with quality-of-life complaints during his first meeting with the community Tuesday night.
Deputy Inspector John Hart said one of the biggest issues facing the precinct, which covers a chunk of Midtown from Lexington Avenue to the Hudson River, is a recent spike in stolen bags that were left unattended.
"It's a grand larceny command," Hart said at Midtown North Precinct Community Council's monthly meeting, noting that grand larcenies are up 15.4 percent so far this year compared to this time last year. "It is being driven by unattendeds."
Most other major crimes are flat or down in the precinct so far this year, but overall crime numbers are up because of the rise in grand larcenies, Hart said.
Hart, who worked on patrol in Midtown North at the start of his career in the 1990s, took over the precinct this week after leading the 46th Precinct in The Bronx. The area's issues have starkly transformed since Hart last worked there, with violent crime in decline and quality-of-life complaints on the rise, particularly against loud bars in the neighborhood, Hart said.
"The problems have changed, which I think is probably a good thing," Hart said. "We will do everything we can to solve problems."
Hart said he was looking into creating a dedicated "311 Officer" who would deal with hotspots that received lots of 311 complaints, an idea that was successful in his former precinct.
He also pledged to continue previous efforts to issue summonses against cyclists who disobey traffic laws and deliverymen who illegally use motorized bicycles.
Hart took over the precinct from Inspector Timothy Beaudette, who moved to the Patrol Borough Manhattan South earlier this year.
"It's a great place to come back to," Hart said.