By Daniel Katzive
“The big news is international.” That was 20th Precinct commanding officer Neil Zuber’s introduction to October’s 20th precinct community council meeting. While the Middle East is far away geographically, community ties and religious connections to the region mean the Upper West Side is considered a sensitive area by the NYPD, and manpower has been deployed here accordingly.
Deputy Inspector Zuber emphasized that the NYPD does not know of any specific credible threats to the neighborhood. Nonetheless, he said extra resources were immediately sent into the precinct following the initial attacks on Israel. In addition to the 20th precinct’s own officers working extended tours, officers from the Housing Bureau, the Counter Terrorism Bureau, and the Emergency Service Unit were sent to the neighborhood, along with detectives from precincts around the city.
Deputy Inspector Zuber said officers initially focused on houses of worship, but later extended protection to yeshivas and area public schools.
Further to the north, in the 24th precinct, Captain Noreen Lazarus told the precinct’s community council meeting that officers normally assigned to administrative duties and the detective squad in the precinct had been deployed to the streets in uniform to help increase patrols at yeshivas, synagogues, and public schools.
In terms of crime, major crime levels reported in both precincts over the past 28 days were stable overall compared with the same period last year, though Deputy Inspector Zuber pointed out that the 20th precinct has seen a sharp drop in year-to-date major felonies, leading a trend evident across all of Manhattan North.
Captain Lazarus said suspects were in custody for both non-fatal shooting incidents in the 24th Precinct over the past month, one on Central Park West at 91st Street on October 12, which is believed to have stemmed from a domestic incident, and the other at 89th and Amsterdam on September 19, which is thought to be narcotics related. There were no shootings over the past 28 days in the 20th Precinct.
Both precinct commanders warned of a plague of scams targeting senior citizens in recent weeks, often initiated via a phone call from someone pretending to be a law enforcement official or impersonating a relative of the victim. They urged everyone to be on their guard, and to check with police before delivering funds in response to a call.
Precinct community council meetings are open to the public. The 24th’s meetings are held on the third Wednesday of the month, at the public library across from the 24th Precinct (100th, between Columbus and Amsterdam); and on the fourth Monday of the month at the 20th Precinct (82nd between Columbus and Amsterdam).
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