At Police Meeting, Talk of Youth Robberies, Homelessness, Losses, and a Major Retirement

Deputy Inspector Timothy Malin and Detective Anthony Burgio.

By Carol Tannenhauser

The 20th Precinct community council meeting Monday night was proceeding as expected, when Deputy Inspector Timothy Malin dropped a bombshell: he’s retiring on February 13th!

Timmy we hardly knew ye!

After a fascinating discussion of the categories of crime and their individual meanings, e.g. the difference between a larceny, robbery and burglary, a violation, misdemeanor and felony, Malin slipped a slide into his presentation that said, “Bye.” Then came a picture of his reasons for leaving: three small children — and a job with a salary that he said he “couldn’t refuse.”

Malin’s a 20-year veteran of the NYPD. Since he took over at the 20th precinct about two years ago, he has stood out for his commitment to community engagement. Malin was always willing to discuss the law and rationale behind police actions with community members, either in public forums or online. Indeed, he’s been a regular contributor to the West Side Rag comment section, a forum that most officials will not dip their toes into.

Commander Malin you will be missed!

Other business and questions from the crowd, which packed the Precinct’s meeting room, covered, among other things:

Neighborhood Losses: Three “pillars of the community” died in the last few weeks, two members of the council board, Dr. Bob Madison and Harold Smith, and long-time precinct administrative aide, Yvonne Boyce. Captain Madison was an auxiliary officer; Smith was the 20th Precinct’s Sergeant at Arms. Read our touching interview with Yvonne Boyce here.

Youth Robberies: Things were going well for the first three quarters of 2019, Malin said, until September, when the neighborhood was hit with a new pattern of crime: youth robberies. A robbery is a theft involving force or a threat of force. These often involved groups of juveniles robbing and terrorizing other juveniles. Amid all the other high-profile incidents that have occurred recently, “this has caused me to lose a lot of sleep in the last quarter,” Malin admitted. “It’s a vulnerable population.” In 2019, robberies jumped in the precinct by almost 40%.

Homeless encampment: Malin said an “encampment” must “block the sidewalk to the point where it becomes impassable,” to be considered a crime. Merely residing on a sidewalk does not qualify, nor does public intoxication. Harassment is a crime, but it must be witnessed by an officer to enable an arrest. There were a few bits of other information. The manager of the Ansonia at 73rd Street and Broadway, where the homeless congregate, said the building is planning to erect “barriers” on the sidewalk shed, which he believes attracts homeless people. He also joked that he sees Detective Tony Burgio, who has been spearheading this police effort, “more than I see my girlfriend,” and praised the 20th Precinct’s efforts. Malin added that contact has been made by Goddard Riverside outreach workers with at least one homeless person in the group, and some progress has been made toward getting him to agree to accept shelter.

Next month’s meeting will feature a representative from Goddard, speaking about the homelessness problem in the neighborhood. It will be held in the precinct house, at 120 West 82nd Street, at 7 p.m. on February 24th. The new commanding officer of the 20th Precinct — whose identity is unknown even to Malin — will be introduced and lead the meeting.

NEWS | 24 comments | permalink
    1. irish says:

      Shame. He seemed like a good cop and hard worker. I especially liked how he sometimes responded to comments on this forum. hopefully his replacement will be as engaged.

    2. Ben David says:

      Deputy Inspector Malin is doing what many officers that I speak to are thinking about: making a much better salary, working for an employer that appreciates their service (not de Blasio), and not having to fear being prosecuted or accused of prejudice every day just for doing their job. Good luck DI Malin!

      • Enough says:

        Mother of god, why must you make this political?

      • Bruce Bernstein says:

        I’m glad that Ben David feels he can speak for DI Malin. Ben David has no evidence that anything he says above about how Malin feels is true, but why should that stop him?

        • Cato says:

          Ben David doesn’t say a word about how DI Malin “feels”, only about what he is doing. And he compares what DI Malin is doing with what other officers, with whom Ben David *has* spoken, are doing. No presumption or assumption there.

          Let’s be a little more careful about cancelling those who have dared say what you would prefer not be said.

          • Bruce Bernstein says:

            no, Cato, Ben David attributes motive and feelings to DI Malin. All Malin said is that he is leaving to make a better salary. he said nothing about his service being unappreciated by his employer, much less De Blasio; or that Malin fears “being prosecuted or accused of prejudice every day” for doing his job.

            And read it over: Ben David said these other officers he speaks to are “thinking” of leaving for these motives, but that Malin is actually LEAVING for these motives.

            Sorry, Cato, it is very clear that Ben David is making a lot of assumptions, politicized ones at that.

            And i am skeptical that Ben David is reporting accurately his conversations with other officers. How do we know he is not running it all through the filter of his viewpoint?

          • Bruce Bernstein says:

            Cato said:

            “Let’s be a little more careful about cancelling those who have dared say what you would prefer not be said.”

            I have no problem with ANYTHING being said, as long as it is true, and no one is putting words in the mouths of others. Indeed there was both presumption and assumption.

          • Bruce Bernstein says:

            I wrote the two responses to Cato above before reading DI Malin’s comments below on how he feels about leaving his job. Malin’s remarks only reinforce what I said. Ben David assumed that Malin is, or must be, totally frustrated in a dysfunctional environment, one where police get no support from the Mayor. The fact is that Malin makes very clear that he LOVES his current job and would stay for a long long time, if not for the salary he got offered, presumably in the private sector.

            You don’t love a job where you get no support.

    3. ben says:

      Malin’s probably just fed up with the complaints in the comments section about crime rates rising lol.
      All joking aside, good luck to whatever you choose to do next Mr Malin!

    4. Richard Cote, 13th Precinct (Retired) says:

      You will find no better officer than DI Malin. Or more diligent or hard working. Or a better person and family man. I truly had the pleasure of working with him when he came to the 13th Precinct as a new officer, many years and three children ago. He will be a success wherever life takes him. Godspeed Tim.

    5. Deputy Inspector Malin says:

      I am very touched by this article, and the kind words in the comments.

      I would especially like to thank the crew at the West Side Rag. They are always persistent in their desire for information, and they ask smart, challenging questions… responding to their inquiries has forced me to be better at my job, and has increased police transparency on the UWS. This is good for both the police and the community.

      The last two years has been the busiest in my career, but also the most fun and most rewarding. I LOVE the Upper West Side, and although I am typically exhausted at the end of a work day, I always went home with a feeling of satisfaction. I was blessed with a great staff at the 20th Precinct, and it has been a pleasure to work alongside them in service to the UWS.

      I would stay in the 20 as long as humanly possible, but I have a really great job offer from a wonderful organization that I will be able to disclose more about in the coming days. As much as I LOVE being a cop, first and foremost I am a husband and father to three little boys- ages five, three, and one… and this opportunity is best for my family.

      I’m looking forward to spending my remaining weeks in the NYPD here, amongst friends, in what I consider to be the best neighborhood in all of New York City. I could not think of a better end to a great career.

      • Cato says:

        Godspeed and good luck! Thank you for all you have done and for your remarkably collegial attitude.

        You will be missed in this neighborhood.

    6. Leon says:

      Thank you to DI Malin for all of your hard work and accessibility. Hopefully your successor will continue this.

      It is absolutely ridiculous that one can legally essentially live on a sidewalk without consequence. Talk about the inmates running the asylum. The homeless problem must be dealt with – I feel bad that they seemingly have nowhere to go but living on busy sidewalks (even if they aren’t totally blocking them) is not a viable solution.

      I truly feel bad for our police officers who have been completely neutered and are unable to do their jobs properly – it must be an incredibly frustrating job.

      • HelenD says:

        Exactly what constitutes a sidewalk being blocked? I was coming back from Citarella an hour ago and the sidewalk was COMPLETELY BLOCKED. I don’t even know how many people were laying under the blankets with their suitcases etc. piled up against the wall. If you stop access the situation they start screaming at you. Are pedestrians supposed to walk the curb like a tightrope or run across the street and backtrack to their buildings? WHY can’t we get these people housing? They’re wearing new clothing/shoes/boots/winter gear and obviously have supplies so someone is assisting them on some level. If the Ansonia erects a barrier won’t they just move over to Broadway? I’m so completely and utterly disgusted with this endless useless discussion!

      • peter says:

        The homeless do have somewhere to go. The shelters take everyone and the intake offices are open 24/7/365. NYC spends more on homeless services than it does on the FDNY. These people dont want to go to shelters and deal with rules or curfews. Too bad. This idea that they have nowhere to go is wrong. Time to vote n a Mayor and Council that will actually address these issues. Maybe voter turnout- which is around 20 percent-will finally go up.

      • Will says:

        Without consequence? Isn’t being homeless already a consequence of a much larger issue? You want to punish people for living outside in the winter? People with homes feel so punished by the misfortune of others, I’ll never understand that perspective, but I’m glad we have a forum here to discuss this. Police still have a ton of power and connections in this city, they will always have the upper hand but we do need more oversight so incidents like Eric Garner never happen again.

    7. Richard Robbins says:

      As a member of CB7 and the Transportation Committee, I have had the pleasure of working with Deputy Inspector Malin and am thrilled for him for this new opportunity. Unfortunately, his departure is a tremendous loss for the NYPD and the UWS.

      Everyone in the NYPD (and all of us) have so much to learn from his commitment to the community, to his incredible ability to speak candidly and transparently. For someone at his level to so frequently attend CB7 meetings, to join in community discussions (including on West Side Rag) and to go the extra mile in every way is remarkable.

      Best of luck my friend!

    8. Scott says:

      “Harassment is a crime, but it must be witnessed by an officer to enable an arrest”

      I never understood this. Shop owners can allege that a customer stole a 6-pack and cops will arrest the person even though they didn’t witness it. Do cops by law trust average citizens less than business owners?

      I’d love to know the list of crimes that cops have to personally witness in order to arrest.

      • Deputy Inspector Malin says:

        Scott- Good question. I went into more depth in this at the meeting last night. Here is the quick summary: There are three types of offenses in NY- Felonies, Misdemeanors, and Violations.

        Felonies and misdemeanors do not have to be personally witnessed by an officer… they can act on what is reported to them. So, shoplifting is Petit Larceny, a misdemeanor. You can say “That guy stole!” and an officer can arrest them, even if the cop was not around when it happened.

        The most common form of Harassment is just a violation. Similar to a traffic summons or parking ticket, it must be personally observed by a police officer to be enforced.

        The source of these definitions is the New York State Penal Law… Here is a good resource: http://ypdcrime.com/penal.law/

    9. jimbo says:

      Happy retirement boss.You deserve everything that life has to offer you.It’s a damn shame that good cops cannot get out of that job quick enough.Take it from someone who has been there.I left the job 30 yrs ago.It broke my heart to leave but there is no way you can stay.SO FRUSTRATING….

    10. dc says:

      Thank you for your service here Deputy Inspector Malin!

    11. Bruce Bernstein says:

      DI Malin: many props, and best wishes. I am sorry i never got to meet you publicly.

      From what I can see, everything Carol Tanenhauser said in the article above is true. DI Malin “set the bar” in terms of public communication and community involvement. This is the heart of “community policing.”