The NYPD is responding to a spate of recent car break-ins on and around Riverside Drive by setting up light towers in areas where darkness and tree cover have made it easier to target vehicles.

In the past 28 days, 17 cars have been broken into on Riverside Drive above 86th street, according to Capt. Marlon Larin, commanding officer of the 24th precinct. Police set up a sting operation on two nights and caught six people, he added. To deter more thieves, the NYPD is setting up light towers to illuminate areas that might appeal to criminals.

The towers will be on 92nd and 98th and Riverside Drive. Fourteen break-ins have also occurred on Central Park West in the past 28 days.

“Anywhere there is foliage and not much light are the places these people prefer,” Larin said. “We’ve got portable light towers to illuminate the areas that are most vulnerable.”

Photo near 92nd and Riverside by AfordNYC.

NEWS | 57 comments | permalink
    1. Scott says:

      Also need one between 104th and 110th St. Very popular break in spot.

    2. NikFromNYC says:

      Formula for crime: install homeless shelters and housing projects in one of the world’s most expensive neighborhoods instead of where there is enough space and real estate that a poor person might get a chance to slowly transition into a normal economy that isn’t so inflated in price due to massive professional and foreign competition for real estate. It is sadistic to house poor people so near doorman building palaces.

    3. Dave says:

      These lights shine directly into my bedroom. If they are going to continue with this idiotic idea, at least point the lights towards the street.

    4. Chris Everett says:

      This is sad and pathetic. We all know what the real problem is: the f****** shelter!!! How the h*** can the city claim that our quality of life is unaffected? The city has turned a lovely, quiet, family neighborhood into a police-action-high-crime zone! Mothef*****s!

      P.S. Excuse my French.

      • Practical Solution says:

        When the European folks came with their backpacks for weeks and months this problem was not happening. Politicians beware! We want the tourists back! Do it or lose our vote!

      • Sam says:

        So true. Quality if life surrounding the shelter(s) has decreased, the number of troubled people walking around the neighborhood has increased. It’s no coincidence and it pisses me off. I’m all for helping the homeless but not at the expense of neighborhood safety. This is ridiculous and there’s nothing we can do about it.

      • Christina says:

        @ Chris Everett…It’s only been recently that the UWS has been quiet and lovely. It’s always been a family neighborhood and at certain times lovely and quiet but for the most part it’s been an area of crime since I was a kid in the 40 some odd years since I’ve lived here off and on.

        • Chris Everett says:

          @Christina – Well I’m certainly taken aback to find someone who is actually in favor of crime. I’ve lived here for over ten years and had no problem with the quality of life associated with the pre-Freedom-House public housing infrastructure status quo. But Freedom House has brought blight to us, no question about it. Something is very, very wrong, and the fact that something was wrong back in the eighties is no excuse.

        • Paul RL says:

          Christina, am I reading your comment correctly? That you’re actually excusing the recent uptick in crime in the area as simply going back to its natural state of affairs? Shouldn’t we instead be outraged at this development?

          • Erica says:

            I can’t speak for Christina, but perhaps what she was saying was that this wave of hysterical hyperbole, suggesting that the neighborhood is UNLIVABLE! INTOLERABLE! OH MFG, HOW CAN ANY OF US SURVIVE THE WAVE OF HORROR THAT HAS ENGULFED US, MAKING SYRIA AND IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN LOOK LIKE PEACE ZONES COMPARED TO THE HORRIBLE HORRIFIC HORRIBLE HORRIBLE HORROR THAT WE ALL MUST ENDURE BY HAVING THESE DREADFUL HOMELESS PEOPLE LIVE NEAR US!!!! may be a little overblown, given that people lived her quite happily for many years even with levels of crime like today’s or higher.

            I’m not in favor of crime, but I’m also not in favor of the ridiculous level of outrage against the shelter. I’ve now been living here since 1988, and it does not seem to me that we have gone off a precipice here. We should address the crime issues (hopefully without shining lights directly into peoples’ bedrooms), but let’s have a little perspective, and include in that perspective helping out the less fortunate – something that has been part of the UWS culture since I got here and before.

            And seriously people, calm yourselves. You’re making yourselves crazy!

            • Bruce Bernstein says:

              well said, Erica. I actually find it depressing how many of our neighbors apparently are willing to participate in this hysteria.

              it also should be noted that the so-called “uptick in crime” is non-existant, according to the statistics. there have been little “waves” here and there, such as the recent car break-ins on Riverside and CPW. (And since they are also on CPW, it is questionable at best that they can be attributed to the shelter.) But all in all the neighborhood is exactly the same as it has been vis a vis crime. Maybe a little better.

              W 95th street is not a “travesty” or any of the other names it has been called. I and many of the other residents of that block have been enjoying the balmy weather… the block has looked very nice these last couple of days. Property and rental values continue to rise. Now if they can only stop the evictions from the senior home…

            • Sam says:

              I’m curious as to where do you live on the UWS Erica? I’m on 93rd / WEA. Not only is the shelter 2 blocks from my apartment, I also have the pleasure of living within 1 block of the 200 mentally ill men living on 94th street.

              It’s a lot of fun walking 3 feet in front of a mentally ill man with groceries as he curses at me and my fiance calling us crackers and mumbling about how he’s going to “run up on us”. This happened yesterday.

              If people think this is OK then they’re incredibly naive. Yes homeless and mentally ill people need help… But to those making the argument that having hundreds of homeless and mentally ill people has no effect on safety and crime in the neighborhood, then I’ve got a bridge to sell you.

            • George says:

              very well said!

            • Paul RL says:

              Erica, it’s the people that think it’s okay for this area to slip back into disarray that need a reality check. Nobody said its unlivable. The majority of commenters believe that it has become more unpleasant. The symptoms and causes are right in front of us, I don’t know why that’s so offensive to you. Shining a light on a car to stop it from being broken into is a stupid idea. Getting rid a problem-causing homeless shelter that was rammed down our throat? That’s exactly what needs to be done.

            • Erica says:

              Sam – I also live at 93&WEA, and have for many years. The neighborhood has improved, in my view, in that period.

            • Sam says:

              @Erica, yes over 40 years I’m sure things have gotten better but that’s no excuse for things to slip back in the wrong direction.

            • webot says:

              Interesting Erica how you see things differently. I read the comments as my neighbors really concerned about the direction the area is taking (down), citing real incidents and expressing concern. I did not read any CAPITALIZED references to Iraq and other rants about HORROR , which you you claim that is what people are actually saying -then you say they are overreacting – That is a major twist in logic.

              There is a real problem here and people want to address it.

          • Erica says:

            The statistics don’t support the assertion that kings are worse than hey have been – there are blips, but the trend continues in the right direction.

            I too find mentally ill people frightening and disturbing. I’m afraid those feelings do overwhelm my empathy when I’m confronted with a disheveled, disturbed person saying rude this to me (not quite rising to assault, I don’t think, but maybe). But the level of reaction is excessive and counterproductive. These people don’t just go away, they have to go somewhere. Put that energy into finding solutions for them – then you can have your neighborhood the way you want it, and maybe earn the right to feel self-righteous as well.

            All this anger and divisiveness, the name calling and the nastiness, are at least as damaging to the neighborhood as the homeless shelter. It frightens me to think that right on my corner, there is a person with so little empathy that his only response to clearly damaged, needy people is to demand that they disappear, with no thought to where they might go.

            • Sam says:

              @Erica I agree the name calling and nastiness do not positively contribute to this discussion. I’m a liberal guy but I also have my limits. Clearly there are some liberal thinkers on this board that are wayyyy left of me when it comes to certain issues.

              I don’t think that demanding the needy just disappear is the right point of view. I also don’t believe that the city continues their habit of housing all needy or troubled people in a very small swatch of land that happens to be the West 90s. At what point Erica will you say that you’ve hit your threshold of social generosity?

              We obviously live very close to each other, I will be very curious how you feel once St Louis Hall opens up their 143 beds to mentally ill and chemically addicted men.

            • webot says:

              Sorry, but I do not even see name calling and nastiness.

              Nor do I see a lack of sympathy for our fellow man.

              My personal “nastiness” is directed my frustration with one person and one person only , who has an extreme left wing anarchist agenda , who distorts facts , belittles others do not have different opinions and ignores facts.

    5. Jennifer says:

      The lights shine right into my apartment. How about installing video cameras? Less light pollution

    6. Dave says:

      If this works, the NYPD will be free to start on their next initiative to prevent the sun from setting all together!

    7. Solved says:

      Move the residents of the homeless shelter to Gracie Mansion.

      • webot says:

        Well said Sam.

        Sorry you had to be abused like that.

        Truly an outrage to be assaulted on your own block.

        Unfortunately, some people don’t want to hear the truth.

        • Sam says:

          You know it’s a bad situation and really a no-win for me. On one hand I’m fine ignoring this psycho behind me, but the thought is obviously there that he could take out a weapon and injure myself or my fiance. And if I turn around and confront the guy who knows what happens. Just didn’t think this neighborhood would turn into Bellevue, I’m just happy we decided to rent before buying.

    8. Sam says:

      I’m glad you’re enjoying the block Bruce, you’ll be enjoying it even more once the Camden hotel gets turned into a shelter. You’ll love it, more homeless people for you to hang out with. Don’t worry I’m 100% sure this will have ZERO effect on crime in the neighborhood, it will probably be even SAFER to walk around at night.

      • Bruce Bernstein says:

        Sam, I am just curious: what evidence do you have that 200 “mentally ill men” are living on W. 94th? there is the St. Louis, which has 74 units for “special needs” residents — not all will be “mentally ill”, they might be AIDs patients or disabled, or veterans — and i don’t think all are men. And there is one other hotel, which i believe is mostly empty.

        it would be interesting to see how many “mentally ill” are actually in residence on the block. Maybe it’s 50 and maybe 50 is too many. but I am just concerned with people being factual… there is so much hyperbole and pure myth.

        Some people want to SPREAD myths. Many of these same people also have come out in favor of “tearing down” Douglass Houses (public housing) and other public housing on the UWS, ending rent stabilization totally, and some have even come out and said that the eviction of the Williams seniors is “good.” So i have to be very skeptical about their analysis of the situation. It seems like there is political motivation.

        • Sam says:

          Bruce you’re right I don’t have any facts on the number of mentally disabled men on W94th. I do know however this number will increase once St. Louis Hall (the other hotel) is done with their construction. The Lantern group will be filling their 143 beds with a mix of MICA and affordable housing residents.

          I’m all for affordable housing, but it is troubling that there will probably be dozens of additional MICA residents walking around West End going through withdrawal, relapsing, etc. Chemical dependency can cause even the most passive people to become violent with little provocation and I’m just frustrated that the w90s has become all but a dumping ground for people in need.

      • Bruce Bernstein says:

        and yes, i LOVE my block… W 95th between Riverside and West End. And as far as I know, most of my neighbors love it as well. i love living there.

        • G Gomez says:

          Apparently you ignore all the negative happenings on the block the same way you ignore all the articles about them.

          A homeless guy followed me up 95th street a couple of days ago muttering about what he’d like to do to my a$$. Unlikely this kind of thing happens to you though, so we don’t need to worry about it.

    9. Paul RL says:

      The political motivations and the spreading of myths are perpetrated by a very few people who choose not to acknowledge the problems that our neighborhood is experiencing. It is a dangerous game. And the most shameful part is that they use the poor and those in need as tools (by accusing others of racism and class warfare) to further their “cause.” For those of us who care and are concerned, we should do everything we can to better our neighborhood. I disagree that there is nothing we can do, and believe that days of the Upper West Side being abused by bad policies should be a thing of the past. We must continue to let our elected officials know how we feel!

      • Bruce Bernstein says:

        i saw the homless speaking for themselves the other day at the rally and at the Precinct Community Council. noone was using them as “tools”. yet you (Paul RL) and so many others put down their suggestions and viewpoints, dismissed them out of hand.

        also when one’s idea of “improving the neighborhood” is to get rid of rent stabilization and tear down public housing, one has to say: improvement for whom? i want to improve the neighborhood for EVERYBODY who lives here.

        • Paul RL says:

          You have proven time after time with your bullying words and on this blog that you are anything but interested in improving the neighborhood for “everyone.” You deny the bad things that your very own neighbors – on your very own block! – are experiencing, and invoke only those who support your strange ideas that more homeless shelters and more supportive housing are somehow good for the neighborhood. We had more than our fair share before the Freedom House disaster. Installing more, and not controlling what we currently have is bad for the neighborhood and even worse for the residents of our current supportive housing stock. It will simply break our backs. Enough is enough.

        • Sam says:

          Bruce do you have a family that you live with? In other words do you have a child or a wife that may find themselves walking alone down your block at night? I’m just curious as it may help me better understand your perspective.

      • Scott says:

        There’s plenty we can do.

        Call the cops at the slightest provocation. Many of the deranged violent homeless have priors. I bet the guy who harassed Sam had some.

    10. Howard Freeman says:

      We had a car break in last week on W84 btw Riverside and WEA, the first one I recall in several years.

    11. Jerry says:

      It seems to me that we have begun the slide back into the miserable crime and drug era of the 1970’s — at least in our neighborhoods — judging by the spate of recent articles about growing violence in the West 90’s, fugitives from arrest warrants in the homeless shelter with the police commissioner saying he is halting raids because of protests by advocates who pooh pooh the crimes that have been charged against those arrested (and with the city bureaucracy failing to vet those people when admitted to the shelter), and a Mayor who seeks out publicity and likes to speak out on everything except enforcing standards of conduct and the law. As it gets without our leaders taking a strong stand to stop it, the more it will deteriorate and the faster that will happen.

    12. jay says:

      But you dont report whether or not these six people that the police caught were from the Homeless Shelter nearby that the police have disgustingly been harassing in the early hours of the morning with no proof of they’re being the thieves.
      What’s the point of your story?
      Lights on dark streets. Without cameras and a desire to check out what’s reported on the cameras, they’re wasting their time and our tax dollars!

    13. Spiro says:

      Two words people: Guardian Angels.

    14. Real FACTS says:

      In areas where stop & frisk is down, shootings are up: http://online.wsj.com/articles/nypd-studies-frisk-decline-consequences-1403745924

      • Bruce Bernstein says:

        1) the UWS is NOT one of those areas.

        2) anyone who knows how to look at statistics can tell you that the table in the article shows no correlation. for example, shootings up THE MOST in Precinct 46 Bx — University Heights), whcih also had the smallest decrease in Stop and Frisk (still many S&F). however, in some other areas where S&F is now almost nil (47th – Bx, 73rd — Bkln, 75th Bkln), shootings still up but by much lower percentage.

        From the article:

        “With the decreasing number of stops, “one should expect some increase in crime numbers,” said Richard Rosenthal, a criminology professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, who published a 2014 study that said it was difficult to determine the relationship between stops and crime.

        “Crime has not shot up” citywide, he added, “so that suggests to me that the relationship between crime and stop-and-frisk may be pretty weak.”

        • Sam says:

          I agree with you Bruce comparing our neighborhood to East NY and Jamaica is simply not apples to apples. I still think you’re either in a state of denial or simply have not a shred of street smarts in you to realize how our small neighborhood has changed and how a few hundred homeless people can dramatically affect the safety and will being of everyone. Once St Louis hall opens I think you’ll be singing a different tune.

          • Bruce Bernstein says:

            Sam: w 95th Street between West End and Riverside is a safe block. the crime statistics show it and observation shows it.

            if you want to talk about “street smarts” and “in denial”, I challenge you to this exercize:

            I will meet you once or twice a week at 8, 9, 10, or 11 PM… any night, whatever time you pick. You pick the nights. We will walk up and down the block, together, on the south side of the block, right past the homeless shelters. You tell me what you see.

            by the way, I thought St Louis Hall was open and people living there.

            • Sam says:

              Thanks Bruce but I don’t need to stroll past the freedom house, this is an exercise that will prove nothing. Besides the 1 knockout game of a dry cleaning delivery person directly across the street from the freedom house (but I’m sure it was neither a resident nor a visitor lol) there has not been an increase in violence on that block.

              Most of the residents are smart enough to not crazy where they eat. That belong said I had a conversation with the new captain of the 24th precinct Mr. larin as well as another plain clothes officer on the night that there was a gun shot on w93rd Street. They both strongly correlate the shelter with the increase in crime in the surrounding area. I think the Captain of the precinct and another officer may just have a better understanding of the crime and the arrests thank you.

              There are people living at St Louis hall but it’s still being converted, many more occupants will be arriving once the renovation is complete.

            • Sam says:

              Just wanted to correct my previous post I did not speak to Captain Larin, i spoke to the anti-crime captain of the precinct.

            • Bruce Bernstein says:

              the deep dark secret that can never be spoken here: W 95th Street between W End and Riverside is a safe block!! And also between Bway and W End.

              you correlate “the increase in crime in the surrounding area” with the shelter? other than the car break-ins, which took place both on CPW (nowhere near the shelter) and on Riverside, there IS NO increase in crime.

              there are a lot of lurid tales being told in these comments. this story of the attack on a dry cleaning delivery person is one of them. i asked the delivery person from Symphony Cleaners, which is the main dry cleaning service active on the block, about this. he had never been attacked, never heard of an attack. Can you please provide the name of the dry cleaner so I can attempt to confirm if this is true?

            • Sam says:

              From n90s.org:

              The 24th Precinct, under new commander Marlon Larin, finally connected the dots between the 95th Street “Freedom House” shelter and the trail of broken glass on Riverside Drive and nearby streets from smash-and-grab auto robberies, building burglaries, increased drug dealing and crimes of opportunity in our neighborhood.

              Responding to a surge in crime with felony auto thefts up May 17th Smash N Grab125% and burglaries up 82% in the precinct, the Police carried out background checks on shelter residents and found that 35 had outstanding arrest warrants. That’s nearly 10% of the 388 residents currently at the shelter. Some of those arrested have criminal histories for acts similar to the recent crime wave. In a raid early Friday morning, police arrested 22 residents, 12 of whom were released back to the City Department of Homeless Services (DHS). A story in DNAInfo reported details of the raid. It was unclear what will happen to the remaining 13 residents with outstanding warrants.

              Recent crimes include an unprovoked “knockout game” style attack April 23d on an employee of Maxine Cleaners who was attempting to deliver dry cleaning on 95th Street across from the shelter. Police responded to six auto break-ins between May 7 and 14th between 100th and 104th Streets. On May 17th, N90s documented two break-ins on Riverside Drive near 93d Street. In addition, the morning of May 23d, police responded quickly to remove a pup tent erected in Joan of Arc Island.

            • Bruce Bernstein says:

              Sam, sorry i did not answer this earlier.

              First of all, re: the former St Louis Hall, now known as “Reston House”: you are incorrect that the facility is not fully occupied. i went in and asked. renovations were completed in January 2014 and all the new tenants have moved in. There is waiting list.

              As far as I can see, this is a well run facility and should be welcomed into the neighborhood. the fact that people on W. 94th street, apparently including yourself, thought that it was not yet occupied proves that the impact on the block is very limited.

              There are 73 units that are housing for the former homeless (this is permanent supportivd housing, not a shelter); the rest are for the former SRO tenants. Remember that supportive housing can be for a variety of disabilities.

            • Bruce Bernstein says:

              Sam, I’ll try to circle back when I get a chance to address your other arguments. thanks for citing some specifics and not just making a unsourced rant, like some others do.

    15. webot says:

      Thank you Sam for the truth and caring about the community.

      Try and ignore the naysayers. they have another agenda that is truly frightening to those of us who care.

      • Sam says:

        Im not sure I understand what kind of agenda would cause someone to ignore the obvious, especially when it comes to safety. Of course everyone is entitled to their own opinion and I’ll respect it no matter how strongly I disagree.

        • Vince says:

          I left the 90’s long ago, and moved to the 70’s. I was accosted several times, and on two occasions had to use force to get myself out of a situation. The 90’s are definitely in decline, and people need to unite to do something about it, now! I have the utmost compassion for the homeless, and we should definitely help them, but not at the expense of lowering the quality of life for those in the area that pay very high rents and taxes. As for the mentally ill and those with criminal background, they must be removed from this area, period. I would research and investigate individuals that support the integration of the mentally challenged into these neighborhoods. You may find that they benefit somehow from this situation.