Crime Falls on the Upper West Side, With One 1,000% Exception

Looking south on Columbus Avenue from 72nd Street. Photograph by Dan Tanner.

By Carol Tannenhauser

Every aspect of normal life has slowed down for most Upper West Siders since the city shut down in mid-March. That even includes crime.

The commanders of the neighborhood’s two police precincts said they’re seeing much less criminal activity in nearly every category they track on a year-over-year basis.

There was a 42% drop in the overall number of crimes committed in the 20th Precinct, which covers 59th to 86th Streets. In the 24th Precinct, which covers the north side of 86th to 110th Streets, there was a drop of 5.2%.

The 20th Precinct was down or the same in all of the major crimes categories, including murder, rape, robbery, felony assault, burglary, petit larceny, grand larceny, and grand larceny auto.

Captain Neil Zuber.

“I can tell you, with no reservations, that crime is down,” wrote Captain Neil Zuber, the 20th Precinct’s commander. “I’d love for the NYPD to be able to take all the credit for that, but I think the current crisis is playing a role. In the 20th Precinct, which is all I can speak definitively about in every aspect, we are down across the board in crime categories compared to this period last year. As you know, we were having a rough few months leading up to the current status quo, so the decrease seems even more dramatic than it actually is. Other parts of the city, including precincts here in Manhattan North, are experiencing increases in individual crime categories, but the overall trend is down.”

In the 24th Precinct — covering the North side of 86th to 110th — certain categories of crimes were up from last year, including burglary, which rose a whopping 1,000%. In real numbers that means 11 burglaries up from one. (A burglary occurs when someone enters a building illegally with the intent to commit a crime.)

Deputy Inspector Naoki Yaguchi.

“Burglaries are up due to a low number last year,” explained Deputy Inspector Naoki Yaguchi, commander of the 24th. “Historically, the 11 burglaries in the last 4 weeks are down compared to 2 years ago (14) and up compared to 3 years ago (8).

DI Yaguchi broke the burglaries down as follows:

4 are commercial establishments
2 on Broadway
2 on Amsterdam Ave.
All incidents occurring on the midnight (shift)

6 are residential locations
1 was a residential location under construction
The other are package thefts – basically people breaking into lobbies and stealing people’s packages

“The other concern we have are e-bike thefts,” DI Yaguchi continued. “We have seen a number of e-bike thefts, specifically from delivery people. Also in the last 4 weeks, we did have 2 incidents on March 29 and April 1 where shots were fired but nobody was injured in the Douglass Housing Projects. The involved parties have been identified and a number of arrests have been made.”

He concluded with a warning: “We would like people to be careful about their packages as we are seeing an increase in package thefts from lobby/common areas of buildings. I think it would be helpful for people to retrieve their packages as soon as they get a notification of delivery and to not let people they do not know into their buildings.”

The slides below show the latest stats for each precinct. Click on each to enlarge.

NEWS | 14 comments | permalink
    1. Glenne says:

      Fascinating
      Love getting your stories!!

    2. Mark says:

      1000% is not really mathematically correct but we get the point 🙂

    3. paulcons says:

      Anyone ordering from Amazon needs to be seriously vigilant. We had had more than one incident where LaserShip (just one of several carriers they use) has not even bothered to buzz the recipient and simply left the package on the street (in front of the buildings front door) where anyone can pick it up and walk away. Last week, they “delivered” a package I had ordered to another building on my block, fortunately I live on a great block and that package made its way to me eventually. Amazon is generally very god about fixing non-delivery issues, but if anytning is time sensitive, have an eagle eye oyt.

    4. Lewis Robinson says:

      Great to hear this news, i’m wondering in the mean time can the police officers in the 2oth precintct concentrate on reckless driving on Freedom place at 60th street. No stop sign,drivers ignore pavement stop sign. Zoom past park and school at high speeds. Being that I’m sheltering in place i gaze out the window in horror at the disaster awaiting. Called 311 & was told the street has not been returned to city by the developer!

    5. NYWoman says:

      Thx Carol – great reporting!

    6. Jenn says:

      What about the increase in shootings. Specifically in the low 90s/high 80s?
      Any stats or reporting on that?

    7. Ben David says:

      Excellent reporting by Carol Tannenhauser, as usual, but one important aspect is missing. Talk to cops on the street. Either on their own judgement, or taking a cue from precinct commanders, they are being told to look the other way — even in violent crimes — if no guns are involved. Dear neighbors, I hope you do not fall victim to a false sense of security due to false CompStat reporting. The streets have been flooded with recently release criminals, including perpetrators of muggings, assaults, and rape – beware.

      • stevieboy says:

        Yes, I too prefer anecdotal evidence to actual data.

        Especially when it backs up “how I feel” and helps me further my fear mongering narrative without having to use real facts.

      • mkmuws says:

        The streets have not been flooded. That is an outrageous comment. A tiny number of soon to be released criminals deemed no threat. You can debate that on the merits, but a tiny number in a densely populated city. They’re certainly not all on the upper west side either.

    8. Miriam Winocour says:

      To to a fairly affluent residential Population of and 20th precinct , there may be people how have left town to go to 2nd homes which you have not mentioned in this piece. Garbage volume is very reduced in the last 4 weeks Mentioned in the press in New York .