Crime is Up in the 24th Precinct, As New Commander Comes Aboard

Deputy Inspector Naoki Yaguchi listening to the community’s concerns.

By Carol Tannenhauser

Crime is up in the northern half of the neighborhood since the first of the year, according to Deputy Inspector Naoki Yaguchi, the new commander of the 24th Precinct, which extends from 86th Street to 110th Street, from the Hudson River to Central Park West. “We are up in robberies, burglaries, and grand larceny auto,” he said.

DI Yaguchi delivered the news at a well-attended community council meeting Wednesday night at the precinct house at 151 West 100th Street. He also reported that a “burglary pattern” is currently hitting the entire borough of Manhattan.

“There have been about 20 incidents where we have a group of three or four youths that are going around burglarizing commercial establishments,” he said. “We had three incidents in the 24th Precinct last Sunday into Monday. They hit Popeyes, a Mexican restaurant, and Jerusalem on 104th and Broadway. They basically forced their way in and took money from the cash register.” He said a team has been deployed to watch out for them, after midnight when all the burglaries occurred.

During the Q&A, several residents asked about the two high-profile incidents that occurred on Broadway in the beginning of February: a robbery on 88th Street and an assault on 103rd.

“I’m starting to actually be scared when I hear somebody behind me,” a woman said.

“We’re looking at crime reports and reassessing every day as to where we should deploy our personnel,” DI Yaguchi responded. “Our big thing is, if that’s the way you feel, at least you will get some sense that the police presence is there.”

The discussion turned to people with mental illness and substance abuse problems. “I’m a business owner,” a woman said. “My storefront faces Broadway and what I see are a lot of people looking scary. I’m not judging, but it is a fact. I see the difference in the city in just the last year, and in the neighborhood, without a doubt.”

“I know there is a general sense of unease,” DI Yaguchi replied. “The biggest thing you can do is be aware of what’s going on and alert in your surroundings. We’re trying our best.”

“Maybe you’re not quite getting the fear and the anger that we have here,” the first woman said, sounding frustrated.

A mother expressed concern about the safety of school children at dismissal time. “We do have a dedicated school team,” DI Yaguchi told her.

“How many officers in the precinct?” someone asked.

“140,” he answered. “I feel very good about my staffing levels.”

“What about the drug dealing?” was the last question of the evening. ”I see a lot of it in front of my building.”

“That’s something we can take enforcement action on,” DI Yaguchi responded. “You can see me after the meeting.”

The 24th Precinct Community Council meets on the third Wednesday of every month. The next meeting will be on Wednesday, March 18th, at 7 p.m., at the precinct station at 151 West 100th Street, between Amsterdam and Columbus.

NEWS | 27 comments | permalink
    1. Matty Why says:

      It’s great to see an article about crime not reference the bail reform laws. Is there a correlation? Maybe. Is there fear-mongering here? No, and that’s a welcome change.

      • Henry Hill says:

        Talk to any police officer and the first thing they’ll ask you is to please contact your state senator or assemblyman about the bail reform laws. Then layer on the absolutely horrific way that our police officers have been denigrated by politicians and large parts of the populace and it’s a miracle things are not a lot worse than they have already become. It’s not fear mongering. It’s reality

        • Will says:

          And then you’ll learn they’ve gotten in trouble for doing that like the commander in Queens. Police are not politicians, they are civil servants paid for by our tax dollars. It is absolutely fear mongering with a giant agenda behind it.

    2. chuck d says:

      It is a welcome change to hear the 24th finally admit that crime is on the upswing after so many years of the “see nothing. do nothing.” system of crime fighting that precinct had.

      Too bad he thinks staffing is adequate. It clearly is not.

    3. Ken says:

      With burglaries and robberies up, the 24th has been doing what with its limited resources this week? Ticketing cyclists on Columbus Avenue (as cars and trucks speed by, nearly all exceeding the 25 mph limit).

      • Suzie E says:

        I am actually more fearful of bikes than any other problem in the neighborhood. It’s terrifying when a messenger or delivery person with a motorized bike sails past going against traffic at high speed. One moment of inattention and you’re in the hospital if not dead. I am grateful that the police are active about this situation.

        • EagleEye says:

          Your fear is very irrational. You are 150 times more likely to be killed by a car. I am not aware of a single death caused by a bicycle in the 24th precinct EVER. Yet I can easily name many people who have been killed by cars in just the past few years. Let the police focus on dangerous drivers and we all will be safer.

          • Suzie E says:

            As to “irrational,” comparing stats (if those numbers are even valid), you would need to correct for the vastly larger number of cars vs. bikes. And also not just compare deaths but also injuries.

            I’ve lived in the neighborhood for going on 40 years, and never feared cars the way I do bikes, the number of which has grown hugely. Many bikers clearly believe they have total control of their bikes and the situation, leaving no margin for error.

            Cars don’t come careening at you going the wrong way on one-way streets making no sound. And bikers who do that apparently need tickets to get their attention.

            • UWSDrew says:

              Every morning there is a guy who commutes through the west side of the park on a high end electric scooter and he is FLYING. He has to be doing near 50MPH. You guys may have seen him, he now has one of those high tech backpacks that you can set emojis in LEDs on the back. This is so reckless, a person or dog is going to get seriously hurt/killed buy this guy.

              He needs to have that thing taken away. Cars are banned from the park but now its OK for the E scooters and bikes to go way faster than the cars ever did?

            • pam says:

              Suzie, I am in total agreement with you. I have been hit by bikes twice in the past couple of years. I have never been hit by a car.

          • Susan Morton says:

            Fear of bikers going the wrong way on their bike lanes is NOT irrational even if it never happens to you. Having a biker sail past at high speed is unnerving, as was their narrowly missing me BECAUSE THEY WERE COMING THE WRONG WAY, has happened to me several times before I learned to look BOTH WAYS even on a one-way avenue like Amsterdam. think (back to basics) that bike employees need to be licensed and ticketed (or their employers). If bigger crimes are happening, it just means that the overall tenor of the neighborhood is declining and I’ll be continuing to look over my shoulder when I exit the 96th St. Station at night.

            • Scooter Commuter says:

              Replying to Drew: it sounds like you may be describing me, at least based on the backpack. Assuming so, please know that my device is incapable of moving itself faster than slightly over 20 mph — except on downhills, of which I do encounter one, as we all know, between around 85th St and the Delacorte. (I monitor my speed on that stretch not least because, although it’s fun to fast, I’m conscious of my own safety and that of others.)

              In other circumstances, I’m traveling below the posted speed limit, which is what is enforced for cyclists, as I understand it, which seems like a reasonable approach to me.

              Based on my anecdotal experience, use of escooters is increasing rapidly in the city. They are an efficient and — when used appropriately— safe and fun way to travel. I’ll try my best to continue to be aware of other park users, and travel safely.

        • Maggie says:

          Agree. Bicycles of all kinds are being used recklessly. Not just messengers but everyday Citibike riders cavalierly sail through red lights. If you call them out for it you get foul language for your trouble. Scarier than regular car traffic, which also requires vigilance. Poor pedestrian!

          • anthony says:

            Oh sure, and pedestrians always stop at red lights, right? as a responsible cyclist that stops at lights, i see what you are seeing and don’t like it.

            But that said, there are 1000X more pedestrians stepping into bike lanes without looking, on their devices, completely oblivious. And i have yet to see any pedestrian stop when i have the green light and there are no cars. they all assume (correctly) that i can easily go around them as they cross against the red. of course if i cant manage to avoid them, they’ll be on here complaining about crazy cyclists running red lights.

            then i get some people who are in the street or in the bike lane, and i avoid them easily and they yell at me for getting too close, when i am 5 feet away and have swerved as much as i could without myself going into a car. people like that no doubt then go on blogs like this and complain that “i almost got run over by a reckless cyclist”.

            they are reckless cyclists and they tend to be on Citi bikes (looking at their phone for an availabel dock) or delivery people. those idiots are a danger to other cyclists first and foremost.

            but please stop complaining about cyclists going through red lights, as if pedestrians in NYC ever do that unless they see a car barrelling towards them. From what i’ve seen cyclist-pedestrians accients are evenly split as to fault, and i have seen half a dozen and in none was anyone actually injured much less seriously.

            one thing cycling has taught me is how to be a much more responsible and safer pedestrian.

            • Scott B says:

              Last night crossing 86th a delivery guy on an e bike blew through a red light not slowing down and missed me by inches. He was between a bus and a truck and I couldn’t even see him coming. There was no place for him to swerve if he had to and I could have easily been killed in that moment.
              I ride a bike but the e bikes are heavier faster and much more dangerous. Police need to really step up enforcement

            • Upper West Side Cyclist says:

              My favorite was the lady who started to curse me out for running a red light while on a bike. The only problem was, I was stopped at the light when it was red, and proceeded when it was green. She was jaywalking but hadn’t even looked up at the light.

    4. tom burnett says:

      excellent article. Readers please attend our regular Community Council meetings at the Precinct -third Wednesday of every month. We need a large turnout so that the neighborhood eyes and ears can help pinpoint problem areas for the officers. Hope to see all of you March 18 at 7pm
      Tom Burnett -President of the 24 Precinct CC

    5. Dave says:

      What did Cpt Seth Lynch have to say? What about the head of the community board?

      • robert says:

        DI Lynch is no longer the commander of the 24, he was tfr to the housing bureau. As for CB7 leadership and our local elected, as usual they were not there. It is rare that they ever show up, though they do to the 20. They all seem to have forgotten that they have constituents north of 86th street. They take our support for granted. It would be nice if they regularly showed up. But I’m not holding my breath for them to start showing up, except when its the month before election day then we suddenly get remembered for a month, only to be forgotten right after.

    6. RM says:

      How about putting some cameras on the streets?!!! Like ALL OVER THE PLACE.

      • CommonSense2020 says:

        Finally, a sensible comment from the pro surveilence committee! I mean, anyone who disagrees clearly has something to hide

        • West Ender says:

          I have nothing to hide, but I value my privacy and don’t want to live in a Big Brother surveillance state.

    7. Ron T. says:

      Di Yaguchi’s responses to the concerned citizens were not very satisfying. They displayed a sort of defensive complacency. Who cares about how many police ENT there are in a precinct. Where are they being deployed and how – inside their safe warm cars,? or out on the streets walking their beats where they can see and hear disturbances – like the one on Broadway/98th St at 11 in the morning – two men physically beating each other up?
      So where are those 140 cops that Di Yaguchi feels very good about?? I never see any cops – on the streets or in their cars cruising and schmoozing.

      • Kindly Dr dave says:

        I agree. For example, a patrol car with 2 officers regularly sits at the foot of Riverside Park every day from 8 to 10 AM. While records show no crimes ever committed there at that hour, we are being protected!
        I suspect that re-allocation of valuable police resources might be in order! (26 precinct FYI)

    8. Dave O says:

      We need a new 24th Precinct Community Council. We need a new president of the council who cares more about the residents of the UWS than the annual Toys-for-Tots program. Someone who is an advocate for the residents (rather than for the NYPD), someone who follows what is happening in the community, is in touch with the community concerns. We need to hold the meeting anywhere but the station house, which does not allow for recording the event. It should be at a school, just like the build a block meetings are held, without being cramped and intimidating. There ought to be a website for the 24th Precinct Community Board, with information, resources, a blog where residents can converse about issues, and where the minutes of the meeting is posted. There needs to be followup from month to month concerning the issues raise (also posted on the web). The president ought to attend all the monthly Build a Block meetings, and the CB7 monthly meeting. The issue regarding safety concerns with the relocation of the homeless residence from 96th to 93th/94th St was deemed as ‘irrelevant’ by the present. During the monthly 24th precinct meeting, the following ought to be presented: 1) the number of cases closes, arrests made, crimes solved. Right now they just present how many crimes happened – but everyone ought to be asking how many crimes were solved, how many arrests were made! 2) CCRB stats, which shows how many complaints residents have made about the police, 3) the NYPD often announce programs, then never again talk about the results. What are the stats & result for the NCO program, can they prove it works. 4) New laws go into effect that directly affect the NYPD but are not presented at the meeting. The council should be on top of the new laws and ask the police to briefly discuss this.

      I could go on. The same people have been on the council for decades. They need to step down, even if no one is ready to step up for a short while. We need people on the council who are advocates for residents, are aware of the basic aspects of the law, know how to use NYC Open Data and can ask questions to raise the quality of policing in the UWS.

    9. Jade says:

      There needs to be more police presence by police vehicles and foot patrol. when police were on the beat back in the day, there was less crime. And when we have a president saying he can shoot someone on 5th Ave; people are out here in the streets sucker punching innocent people. They too feel they will get away with it
      if you walk on the Upper West side alone, you are more at risk.
      Try to go in two’s and not be on your cellphones all the time because this is what these thugs look for. I try and walk when i see a few people going the same way. Unfortunately these are the times we live in today. Beware of your surroundings!

    10. paul says:

      When you have an administration that turns a blind eye to homelessness and mental illness and fails to support the police in dealing with these problems you get a return to the 1970s upper west side. Ask Gail Brewer and the council what they are doing to support those who we call on to assist.

      Paul D 24pct retired 1970-1990