By Emily Baer
Captain Ben Graham, who was recently appointed to the 24th Precinct (covers the Northern half of the Upper West Side), spoke at a community council meeting last month about some new safety concerns that have emerged and how the precinct is fighting crime in the area. There were about 30 people in attendance and most of them were older people concerned about safety and quality of life issues.
He emphasized that there has been a surge in iPhone snatching (really all type of Apple products have been targeted in grab and run type of robberies). These happen in more congested places, such as transit hubs where people tend to be easily distracted. He pointed out that we should write down all the serial numbers for any of our portable electronics and keep that in a safe place for if they’re ever taken.
After Captain Graham’s general remarks, individuals from the audience asked questions and raised complaints about other issues they have encountered. There was a collective agreement that there has been an increase in traffic congestion, with delivery trucks such as Fresh Direct being parked for hours or even days blocking parked cars and fire hydrants from being accessed. He said the best way to combat this issue is to call the police and make a complaint and they’ll send someone out to check it out. A summons will be issued if there is some sort of violation and eventually they’ll get the message He said the same thing about a noise complaint on 108th and Columbus that’s been happening after 10:30 p.m. (Honestly, it wasn’t the most reassuring way to say that they’ll look into the problem.)
Interesting to note is that there is has been pilot program that has been in effect for a few years across the city which has increased the presence of street patrols on Thursday and Friday nights. Called Operation All-Out, officers from different precincts and departments (clerical positions mostly) have been assigned to certain areas where there is more of a police presence needed (mostly on the Broadway corridor). I did notice that when I walked to the meeting at around 7 p.m. there were two patrolmen on just about every block between 93rd & Broadway and 100th & Broadway. I was later told that this was just a coincidence.
There is also now an anonymous email address firstname.lastname@example.org where you can report anything suspicious (“see something say something”).
The community council meeting, held at the precinct headquarters (151 West 100th Street) or across the street at the New York Public Library, is scheduled for the third Wednesday of the month and lasts for an hour. Members of the police department gather to answer questions from the community, and sometimes a guest speaker will talk. The next meeting is scheduled for this Wednesday.
Below, check out the most recent crime stats in the 24th precinct (click to enlarge):