New York, NY—It was another opportunity for Upper East Side residents to meet with their Neighborhood Coordination Officers, and many voiced the same concerns of residents in the two most recent meetings: feeling unsafe in the midst of aggressive panhandlers and whether bail reform is responsible for a crime increase.
This evening’s meeting was held at the 92nd Street Y and hosted by Police Officers Daniel Pardo and Lori Murray, both of whom have five years on the force with the 19th Precinct.
Just like at last night’s meeting, residents voiced concerns about what they say is aggressive behavior by particular homeless individuals, prompting one resident to ask the officers if he should be investing in pepper spray or a pocket knife.
“I just don’t feel safe going out at night, and I’ve lived in this neighborhood my entire life,” said the resident.
The officers didn’t advise him one way or the other, but the resident continued by asking the officers directly, who work the 3 pm to 11 pm tour, whether they felt safe at night.
Officer Pardo acknowledged the crime uptick, pointing to statistics from the 19th Precinct, but that the command, which sits in one of the most densely populated areas of the city, is considered one of the safest.
Someone else then asked about the recent spree of auto thefts in parking garages. Since June 28, there have been 14 auto thefts in the entire 19th Precinct district, with three thefts occurring at East 79th Street and 1st Avenue on August 10.
Both Pardo and Murray pointed out the theft occurs when an individual inquires about the availability of car-sharing Zip vehicles to distract the valet while another individual searches a car that may have the key in the ignition. They emphasized to the residents that if they intend to park in a garage to make sure they hand their key to the valet and their car is locked before leaving.
And a board member from the non-profit East 86th Street Association said she didn’t want to wade into politics but felt there wasn’t a strong enforcement of homelessness and food vendors when she walks throughout the neighborhood.
“My main concern is that we’re not seeing a police presence. I walk everywhere and I’m not seeing you,” said the board member.
However, as a result of the budget agreement in July between the mayor and the city council that cuts approximately $1 billion in NYPD spending, homeless outreach has been shifted away from the department and will be done entirely by the Department of Homeless Services. The NYPD’s homeless outreach unit, made up of 86 officers, is being reassigned.
In addition, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced in June that the NYPD would stop issuing tickets to food vendors and would no longer oversee enforcement.
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