By Daniel Katzive
A report of a possible armed robbery brought police racing down Columbus Avenue early Thursday morning to the southern end of the 20th Precinct. Scanner traffic monitored by and reported on the Citizens App showed a robbery with a possible display of a weapon at the Duane Reade at 63rd and Broadway at around 7:30am, with the suspect leaving the scene and heading uptown.
With the suspect no longer at the location, most of the responding units did not remain on the scene and Duane Reade staff went about their business serving customers. According to an NYPD spokesperson, the incident was ultimately written up as a petit larceny. The police report indicated the individual removed consumer items from a shelf, placed them in a laundry bag, and left the store without paying. Once outside, he displayed an unknown object, and this perhaps is the reason for the initial report of a weapon. No arrest was made.
The incident provides a good example of why reports based on police radio traffic, which are preliminary by nature, do not always line up with official statistics. While data from this current week is not yet available, Compstat statistics for the week ending last Sunday July 10 show there were 27 petit larcenies in the 20th precinct that week. There were just 3 robberies (thefts involving force or threat of force), and a total of 12 robberies over the past 28 days, up substantially from just 2 in the equivalent 28 day period last year.