By Daniel Katzive
The new year brings new leadership to the 20th Precinct. Deputy Inspector Candida Sullivan has taken over as commanding officer from Deputy Inspector Neil Zuber, who has moved across the park to take the reins at the 19th Precinct on the Upper East Side. Sullivan arrives in the 2-0 after a year in which major crime numbers were generally stable on the Upper West Side.
D.I. Sullivan will hit her 20-year anniversary on the force in July 2024. Interviewed for a 2019 article in the New York Post describing NYPD efforts to recruit more Asian-American female officers, Sullivan attributed her decision to leave a six-year career in finance and sign up for police work to her experience working downtown in the World Financial Center on 9/11. “My whole life changed after that. I wanted to do something more with my life — I wanted to help,” she told the Post.
Sullivan arrives at the 2-0 after serving nearly two years as the commanding officer of Police Service Area 9, the Housing Bureau unit which patrols NYCHA properties spanning six precincts in Queens. Prior to PSA 9, she worked patrol in Manhattan, served as a sergeant in the North Bronx and was a lieutenant in Washington Heights, according to the Post. She took over at PSA 9 in April 2022 and was promoted to Deputy Inspector in December 2022.
In 2023, major felonies reported in public housing in the precincts covered by PSA 9 were up 10% over 2022 levels, well above the 3% increase reported for public housing citywide, according to CompStat data. The increases were driven by burglary and auto theft, with shooting incidents and murder numbers low and stable in the command.
On the Upper West Side, crime was stable or lower in 2023 compared with 2022 numbers across most major felony categories in the 20th and 24th precincts, with the notable exception of murder (including involuntary manslaughter) and auto theft. There were six murders across the two precincts in 2023 vs. just one in 2022, and auto theft was up 16% on the Upper West Side in line with a citywide surge.
In the 20th Precinct, the homicide numbers include the January 2023 murder of Maria Hernandez in her home on West 83rd Street, as well as the deaths of three members of a family on West 86th Street on August 28. Two suspects are in custody awaiting trial for the Hernandez murder, while reports have indicated that the West 86th Street incident is believed to have been the result of a murder-suicide.
In the 24th Precinct, two homicides occurred early in the year, the first stemming from a fight in the West 96th Street subway station that resulted in manslaughter charges, and the second, a February stabbing on West 97th Street for which the victim’s neighbor is currently in custody awaiting trial for murder.
The 20th Precinct notched another grim statistic in 2023, recording its first pedestrian fatality in over a year. Eighty-nine year old Leonard Sugin of 201 West 70th Street died after being struck by a TLC livery SUV while crossing Riverside Boulevard on October 26.
There were two pedestrian fatalities in the 24th Precinct in 2023.
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