BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — Police are asking residents in eastern Bedford-Stuyvesant to keep an eye on vacant properties in their neighborhood as burglaries of empty buildings are driving crime in the area.
Burglars are targeting vacant buildings in and around the 81st Precinct, according to Inspector Scott Henderson, including those in phases of renovation or demolition.
“What we’re seeing is people are actually taking over vacant properties and claiming them as their own,” Henderson told residents at a precinct council meeting on Tuesday. He did not elaborate as to whether these people were squatting in these buildings or just stealing things.
“Sometimes they’ll try to go to court and file some paperwork saying that they actually own the building, but in most cases, they’re just breaking into the property and claiming it for themselves.”
Most recently, 11 people were arrested Sunday evening at a Monroe Street residence near Patchen Avenue, police said.
The owner of the property went to check on the building and found the locks and door were changed, according to an NYPD spokeswoman.
The individuals were charged with burglary and possession of burglary tools, police said, and several had previously been arrested for burglary, according to Henderson.
“It’s not the first time that they’ve done things like that,” he added.
In the past month, there have been 22 recorded burglaries, compared to 14 for the same period last year, the commanding officer said.
Burglars are also taking copper pipes from the buildings to re-sell, police said.
During Tuesday’s meeting, a local resident commended officers from the 81st Precinct for their patrol work, saying she has seen police looking into vacant buildings on her Madison Street block.
“What we’re asking is, if you know of any abandoned house, any abandoned buildings on your blocks, please let us know,” Henderson said.
The precinct has been compiling a list of vacant properties, he added, with about 95 that they are “trying to keep an eye on.”