By Joy Bergmann
Captain Neil Zuber, commanding officer of NYPD’s 20th Precinct, characterized recent developments in UWS crime as “bittersweet” during Thursday evening’s Community Council meeting.
He noted the area had seen an improvement in grand larcenies [major thefts] at retailers, but at the same time, the precinct saw three stores close. “The leases were up, plus the larcenies,” Zuber said, without naming the three retailers. He later confirmed the Rite Aid on Amsterdam and 70th was among them. According to the latest NYPD CompStat report, grand larcenies year-to-date have risen 52% compared to 2020, and 26% compared to 2019.
Zuber lamented the impact of state bail reform on policing efficacy and morale.
For example, he said, 20th detectives recently arrested a suspect in seven theft complaints with a similar modus operandi: “An elderly victim in Fairway or other public place would have their wallet removed from a purse.” The suspect had a “long rap sheet” of prior offenses, Zuber said. “We requested high bail. The D.A. requested high bail,” he said. “He got $2 bail…that’s what we’re facing.”
When asked for an update on the October 4th shooting at 72nd and Columbus and the October 28th shooting near 71st and Broadway, Zuber said there had been no arrests yet in either case. “There’s been progress on both…we’re waiting on labs and other results,” he said, noting that investigations can take time. “This is not television.”
Zuber also reported the precinct saw three people resign in the past two weeks. He could not say for certain that the Covid-19 vaccine mandate caused the resignations, but indicated it may have. He also said the mandate may have spurred the departure of several school crossing guards.