GROUPS OF TEENS SWIPING PHONES, VALUABLES, FROM PEOPLE LOUNGING IN RIVERSIDE PARK

riverside park lounging
Don’t rest too easy, buddy!

We received the following information from a community group that helps support the 105th Street Dog Run in Riverside Park. (Update 5 p.m.: We’ve added more information from the NYPD below.)

“WARNING! NEW RIVERSIDE PARK SAFETY CONCERN!

We received this from our neighborhood’s doyenne of dog owners, Jane Burbank:

Hello Everyone,

I spoke to an officer from the 24th Precinct today. She told me there has been a rash of daytime robberies in the park and that these thefts are happening “every day” and has become an increasing problem. The officer stated that groups of “teens” surveil people in the park – even hiding behind bushes, etc., — and look for people whose phones, purses, laptops, etc., are sitting next to them on benches or on the grass while they are reading or sunbathing.

When there is an opportunity, because someone looks away from their purse, phone or other property, one of the teens in the group runs up and grabs the personal property and they all run away. They are very well organized. This officer told me she was working undercover the other day and managed, with 2 other officers, to apprehend one group of 5 after they witnessed a robbery. This incident happened at 1pm.

This is a very dangerous situation. You may have seen the recent news reports about groups of young people have robbed and assaulted people near Central Park. There is always the possibility that some may be carrying weapons. Please be extra vigilant.

According to someone I spoke with at the 24th Precinct, the PD is short/under staffed. This must contribute to the traffic safety issues we are facing as well as these other types of crimes.”

Capt. Marlon Larin wrote to us about the thefts today. He clarified that these are technically larcenies and not  “robberies” because there is no force being used. He says that they are often happening near soccer fields or volleyball courts:

“We do have some concerns in Riverside Park, specifically at the Soccer Fields and the Volleyball fields.  This is not to say that opportunists are not targeting other victims who are frequenting open grassy areas for sunbathing activities or others sitting on park benches.  Allow me to clarify that the crimes involved are not robberies as this crime needs an element of threat or use of force by the offender against the victim.  We are experiencing grand larcenies of unattended property.  The difference here is that there is virtually no contact between the suspects and the victims.  The suspects are running off with valuables such as credit cards, electronics, and cash.  We have conducted operations in the park and have a daily uniform presence during the daytime.  The dates of crimes and any results are as follows:

  • 6/17/14 7:45pm
  • 6/28/14 3:00pm
  • 7/22/14 6:00pm
  • 7/24/14 6:00pm
  • 7/28/14 8:00pm
  • 7/29/14 1:00pm….3 adults arrested (regrettably, the complainant was unable to identify them, however, they were arrested on other charges.)
  • 7/30/14 12:21pm….5 teenagers arrested
  • 7/30/14 7:50 pm……2 teenagers and one 12 year old arrested

Please ask our community to commit to carrying as few valuables as possible while enjoying a day out at the park.  Also, if certain items are absolutely necessary, to please consider attire that have zippered pockets or any other type of lining to secure valuables.  Our message to potential victims is to harden themselves as a target.  By closing the windows of opportunity, a suspect has no other option but to go away.

In any case, our endeavors at the park will continue.”

(By the way, officers from the 24th will be mingling with residents Tuesday night at 6 p.m. at the Happy Warrior Playground (West 98th and Amsterdam) as part of the National Night Out program).

Photo by Ed Yourdon.

OUTDOORS | 27 comments | permalink
    1. webot says:

      Anyone truly surprised? The police have been demonized the criminal element has been embolded.

      Every criminal now knows that they will not be stopped, questioned or even watched. If they are they can make a claim against that police officer – after all, what are they doing but just hanging in the park or street. If they get caught in the act or resemble a description of someone who committed a crime or captured on camera, they will resist arrest, fight the police, until the officers have to use a huge amount of force that does not look pretty but does the job, when someone is not cooperating, next thing will be a press conference with the Reverand AL and half the city council at their side.

      The era of safe streets is coming to an end. But hey we wouldn’t want to step on anyone’s civil rights to mug another human being.

      • Lisa says:

        Actually, former Mayor Bloomberg paid off Al Sharpton (and others)which is why Al Sharpton was so quiet during the Bloomberg years…..

        Silence Was Golden by Tom Robbins, opinion essay in the NY Post, discusses this.

        • Also Lisa says:

          Interesting that you say that Al Sharpton was paid off during Bloomberg years as if Bloomberg was the bad guy without batting an eye at the idea that Sharpton COULD be paid off. Doesn’t say very much for him either! Both sides of the story…if it’s even true…you know?!

    2. John says:

      Can anyone elaborate on the recent Central Park incidents mentioned above? Different than those from the spring?

    3. nana says:

      The dying city. A new generation of thugs whose culture is hip hop music and crime and violence is upon us….Don’t invest in NYC..you will be sorry.

      • JS says:

        Your comment is so blatantly prejudiced and ill conceived I must respond. It is not a dying city. Hip Hop music has nothing to do with crime, violence, or thugs. Rock and Roll did not corrupt and demonize people, the Beatles did not spread evil, and what in the world does “don’t invest in NYC” mean? Please reconsider your attitude.

    4. Paul RL says:

      It was only a matter of time. The would-be criminals have been salivating ever since de Blasio and the our City Council went out of their way to apologize for and reverse the crime fighting tactics that actually worked under Mayors Giuliani and Bloomberg. This is what happens when you create an atmosphere where hamstringing our Police Department is more important than protecting our citizens.

    5. 9d8b7988045e4953a882 says:

      The campaign to undermine law enforcement has certainly emboldened criminals. Let’s hope we don’t go back to the anarchy and mayhem of the 80’s and 90’s.

      I would be willing to bet that these offenders are receiving taxpayer subsidized housing. They then go out and victimize the very people who are supporting them. Part of their punishment should involve losing their government benefits.

    6. KG says:

      Seriously? So now its the victim’s fault for attracting trouble makers? What’s next? Women should not dress up provocatively for fear of attracting rapists? There’s only one solution to this as other people are suggesting here, strong and effective deterrence, and giving the NYPD all the tools necessary to keep people safe. Or let’s just bring Rudy back.

      • JS says:

        Actually, the crime rate under Bloomberg was at its lowest point in many many years. And so far the figures show that the overall rate continues to lessen under De Blasio. We live in a society that grows more and more fearful and loves finger pointing. Blame the horror of 9-11. Let’s try to be objective and look at the facts.

    7. B.W. says:

      “This is a very dangerous situation. You may have seen the recent news reports about groups of young people have robbed and assaulted people near Central Park. There is always the possibility that some may be carrying weapons. Please be extra vigilant.”

      Umm, how about some CLARITY here?!! What assaults near Central Park?!! This is the first I am hearing about this recent spate of crimes in or near Central Park. If you can’t link to that in your story, you shouldn’t be reporting on it.

    8. Jeff says:

      Wow, people on this thread are seriously out of touch and presumably get most of their news from the Post. Crime is still falling, despite new reports almost every day of outrageous NYPD brutality. A couple juvenile delinquents stealing phones is standard police blotter stuff and doesn’t signal the rise of anarchy, for crying out loud.

      • 9d8b7988045e4953a882 says:

        A lot of the so-called “police brutality” occurs when the suspects resist arrest. Then the video shows only the part where the officer is subduing the suspect, not what led up to it.

      • Paul RL says:

        Nah, we out-of-touchers get our news from what we see and hear on our own streets. A mini gang war going on between the projects on Columbus Avenue, a trail of broken auto glass from increased smash ‘n grabs all along Riverside Drive, dozens of homeless folks with outstanding arrest warrants living in out midst, increased drug dealing in Riverside Park, an occasional shooting here and there, not to mention this very WSR article that we’re discussing…but you’re right – what’s the big deal?

      • JS says:

        I totally agree, Jeff. Thank you for the voice of reason.

        • webot says:

          I totally disagree with Jeff.

          The poopooing of the problems in our mist can no longer be the party line.

          Glad to see the silent and reasonable majority of folks have had enough as well.

          Where are our elected officials ? silent as usual to problems the effect the community as a whole.

      • Bruce Bernstein says:

        I agree with jeff as well. Every instance of crime is used to push a political agenda.

        • 9d8b7988045e4953a882 says:

          I disagree with Jeff. No one is using crime to push a political agenda. I want the government to do its job by vigourously enforcing the law and protecting public safety. Many of us have seen the alternative when your side was in charge and have no wish to go back to it. Let’s be honest–it was a disaster.

          • Bruce Bernstein says:

            “No one is using crime to push a political agenda.”

            he says, and then two sentences later pushes a political agenda.

            Obviously “the government” (i.e. NYPD) is “vigorously enforcing the law and protecting public safety”, which you can see by reading Captain Larin’s (24th Precinct) response and report in this very posting.

          • Paul RL says:

            If a “political agenda” means demanding that our elected officials do everything in their power to keep us and our families safe when we walk down the streets or take a stroll in the park, then fine, let’s admit it – we have political agendas!

    9. Soxtory says:

      Might as well get used to it; as long as we have this mayor, crime will escalate.

      If you are a celebrity, you can get a permit to carry a pistol. If not, keep a lookout for these young thugs, we know them when we see them. They travel in groups usually. Easy to spot.

    10. Bruce Bernstein says:

      Please note the “community policing” perspective advanced by Capt. Larin 24th Precinct in the posting above:

      1) respond quickly to a community bulletin board or Web site (WSR)

      2) give accurate facts without prejudice

      3) inform the community what is being done and how they can assist and/or protect themselves.

    11. Disaster says:

      Can’t wait to see how the National Action Network will respond to this. Oh wait, they won’t…. Unless a cop actually tries to stop the perps. Then it’s protests and a lawsuit against NYC’s taxpayers.

    12. SLR says:

      Crime is a broad word. While violent crime may be down there is plenty of documentation of a rise in electronics larcenies. While I am happy no one is being hurt I don’t relish the fact that the police are asking me to be a hard target. Floodlights on RSD, large influx of homeless (some a bit aggressive about pan-handling), now larcenies.

      Interesting that the 24th is now described as short staffed. Has de Blasio been shifting assets?