By Gus Saltonstall
On January 20, a duo entered the CVS at the corner of West 70th Street and West End Avenue, and dumped $800 worth of shampoo and makeup from the shelves into a bag, police told West Side Rag. The pair then walked out of the store.
There have been no arrests.
On two other occasions this month, the same CVS was the victim of shoplifting incidents that saw a much less valuable collection of goods taken, police added.
On January 24, roughly 30 blocks farther uptown, a man walked into a T.J. Maxx at 808 Columbus Avenue, near West 98th Street, in the middle of the afternoon and took two bottles of perfume worth around $300, police said.
Three days later on the 27th, a man walked into the same T.J. Maxx and grabbed a pair of handbags valued at roughly $270, before fleeing the store, police said. In this case, there has been an arrest. Shortly after the 27th, a man named Angel Feliciano was arrested in connection with both incidents and charged with petit larceny, police said.
Shoplifting is a buzz word neighborhood subject. You see it discussed in Facebook groups, community forums, and over dinner tables.
What do the reported crime statistics point to in terms of shoplifting trends on the Upper West Side for the start of 2024?
Shoplifting offenses almost exclusively fall under petit larceny charges in New York, which happen when someone takes or withholds property from its owner that is primarily valued under $1,000. Importantly, not all petit larceny charges are shoplifting and include other types of burglaries, but remain the best statistic to look at for an insight into shoplifting.
In the 20th Precinct, which comprises West 59th to West 86th streets, and includes the CVS on West 70th Street that saw $800 worth of goods removed recently, petit larceny is noticeably on the rise this year.
For the week of January 22 to January 28, there have 28 incidents of petit larceny within the 27-block stretch of the 20th Precinct — that is up 115 percent from the 13 incidents that took place during the same week last year, according to NYPD data.
Taking in consideration January 1 to January 28, there have been 94 incidents of petit larceny within that section of the Upper West Side, a 38-percent increase from the 68 incidents that took place during the same time in the 20th Precinct in 2023.
From a wider vantage point, the increase of criminal offenses in the 20th Precinct remains at an uptick, but a much smaller one. Over the last two years, there has been a marginal 8-percent increase in petit larceny within the 20th Precinct, according to NYPD data.
The 24th Precinct stretches from West 87th to 110th streets and includes the T.J. Maxx that experienced shoplifting on two different occasions last week.
Does the same significant increase in petit larceny for the start of 2024 in the 20th Precinct exist in the 24th Precinct?
The answer is no.
From January 22 to 28, there have been 29 incidents of petit larceny in the 24th Precinct, a 29 percent decrease from the 41 incidents that took place during the same week last year, according to NYPD data. When looking at the year so far, petit larceny dropped by 42 percent in the precinct during the first 28 days of January in 2024, when compared to the same time frame in 2023.
In the last two years, petit larceny has decreased by 4.3 percent within the 24th Precinct, according to NYPD data.
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