Captain Malin speaks to the board.
By Alex Israel
The NYPD is warning Upper West Siders to take extra measures to secure their belongings, following recent reports of theft at local gyms and movie theaters.
During November’s full Community Board 7 meeting, 20th Precinct Commanding Officer Captain Timothy Malin asked the board and community members to stay vigilant in the face of two emerging trends.
The first is an uptick in theft of personal items from gym lockers. Malin has received reports of multiple thefts between the New York Sports Club at 75 West End Avenue (63rd Street), and Equinox at 160 Columbus Avenue (between 67th and 68th Streets). “If you patronize any of the gyms in the 20th Precinct or the 24th Precinct, please use a quality lock and make sure you always lock your valuables,” he suggested.
The second is an increase in grand larceny while victims are at the movies. Three women have reported their purses stolen from the AMC Loews Lincoln Square (1998 Broadway) in recent weeks, he said. NYPD is working to get some PSAs out and is hoping people will spread the word, as it’s “very difficult for [NYPD] to enforce this, because it’s dark inside the movie theater,” according to Malin.
Despite the emergence of these new trends, Malin was happy to share that larcenies are down 8 percent from this time last year, and that overall crime is down 1.8 percent – the first year-over-year decrease in 18 months.
Prompted by a community board member, Malin also provided an update on the two sisters found dead on the shore of the Hudson in October. While the investigation is still ongoing, Malin said the NYPD is “99.9 percent sure” that their deaths were not homicides, but rather suicides – likely a “suicide pact.”
This weekend, the NYPD recovered a purse and passports from Riverside Park, belonging to Rotana Farea, 22, and her younger sister, 16-year-old Tala Farea. But they are still working to piece together what happened between the time the sisters were declared missing from their home in Fairfax, Virginia, in August, and found dead in New York. “There is no reason to believe it’s a homicide … we still have to account for their whereabouts for two months,” said Malin.
Anyone with information is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the CrimeStoppers website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM, on Twitter @NYPDTips or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.
All calls are strictly confidential, police say.