By Daniel Katzive
Captain Noreen Lazarus has taken the reins as the new commanding officer at the 24th Precinct, located on 100th Street between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues. She replaces Inspector Naoki Yaguchi who announced his retirement in January.
Captain Lazarus is no stranger to the precinct. She served as executive officer (XO, or second-in-command) at the 2-4 for a period of 10 months spanning 2020 and 2021. More recently, until this month, she has been XO at the 28th Precinct in Central Harlem. She has been on the force since 2003.
Addressing the precinct’s monthly Community Council meeting on Wednesday evening, Captain Lazarus said she was happy to be back in the 2-4, having loved her previous time working there. “People care about where they live, they care about their businesses. It’s important to you, it’s important to me,” she said.
The Captain takes over the command at a time when crimes in some categories have begun ticking higher again after a period of improvement in the final months of last year. The precinct has recorded two homicides this year, already eclipsing last year’s number. The first involved a dispute at the 96th Street IRT subway station which resulted in a man being pushed onto the tracks. The alleged assailant was arrested at the scene. He was charged with manslaughter and is currently in custody at the Bellevue Hospital prison ward awaiting trial according to Department of Corrections records.
The second homicide occurred just last week, when a dispute between two tenants at 316 West 97th Street led to a stabbing. Police were able to make an arrest at the scene in that case as well, and the suspect is being held on Rikers Island pending trial.
Another category of felony which is on the rise in the 24th Precinct is auto theft, with 17 incidents reported so far this year vs. just four during this period in 2022. Captain Lazarus noted this is part of a pattern that is affecting a number of precincts in the area and CompStat data shows auto thefts are up about 4% city-wide.
Lazurus said the thefts are primarily occurring in the area around Riverside Drive in the 90s during late-night hours and that Hondas and Kias appear to be the vehicle of choice now for the thieves. The precinct has stepped up patrols in the area but she urged residents to call 911 immediately if they see suspicious activity.
Community Council meetings typically take place on the third Wednesday of each month at 7:00 PM at the precinct (100th Street between Columbus and Amsterdam).