MIDTOWN EAST — The 17th Precinct's new commanding officer hopes to use his counterterrorism experience to drive down robberies and traffic accidents in the area.
Capt. Clint McPherson, who joined the NYPD in 1993, has served in precincts in Brooklyn South and most recently led the NYPD’s Counterterrorism Division. That experience will come in handy in his new post at the 17th Precinct, which covers a busy area including Sutton Place, Kips Bay, Turtle Bay, Murray Hill, Manhattan East and Rose Hill, McPherson said.
“My last command prior to coming here was at the Counterterrorism Division,” McPherson said. “It’ll probably apply here more than anywhere else.”
While major crime is generally down in the 17th Precinct so far this year, robberies are on the rise. There were seven robberies in the 28-day period ending April 27, up from just three during the same period the previous year, according to NYPD crime statistics. Overall this year, there had been 22 robberies as of April 27, compared to 16 the previous year, statistics show.
Some of the incidents are bank robberies, some took place in commercial buildings and others are shoplifting cases, McPherson said.
“If a security officer tried to stop the person from shoplifting and they got into a struggle or a fight, then it becomes a robbery,” McPherson explained of why a typical shoplifting incident would be elevated from grand larceny to robbery.
To address the bank robberies, the precinct’s crime prevention officers are doing surveys of banks in the area to identify any patterns.
“They’re stopping in and talking to bank security officers and bank managers,” he said.
McPherson also plans to target spots where there have recently been traffic crashes, including 57th Street and Third Avenue, 37th Street and Third Avenue, 42nd Street and Third Avenue, and 34th Street and Second Avenue.
As a part of the Mayor Bill de Blasio's Vision Zero initiative, McPherson plans to distribute fliers about traffic rules and tips for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers starting next week. Then, beginning on May 18, officers will enforce the rules at those intersections.
“The ultimate goal here is to reduce crime and improve quality of life for residents and businesses," McPherson said.
McPherson, 44, previously worked in precincts across Brooklyn, along with in the Internal Affairs Bureau, the Brooklyn South Narcotics Squad and in the detective squads at the 63rd and 61st precincts.
He moved to Crown Heights from Guyana when he was 12 years old and lived there until he got married about eight years ago. He currently lives in Queens with his wife and two children.
McPherson replaces Deputy Inspector James Sheerin, who had been at the helm of the 17th Precinct from April 2012 to March of this year. Sheerin was assigned to Patrol Borough Bronx.
“I met with our new commanding officer the other day,” said Jay Litwin, the chairman of the 17th Precinct Community Council. “I found him to be very dedicated and well informed of precinct operations."