Villagers Can Help Prevent Burglaries in Their Neighborhood

By Frank Quinn

Crime across the city is trending downward over the last month, due to the coronavirus outbreak, and the West Village is experiencing a similar trend with one troubling exception—burglaries are up considerably.

The most recent 28-day period for which statistics are available shows burglaries in the West Village have increased by 138 percent versus 18 percent citywide. By comparison, burglaries in the East Village and Tribeca are down, while Chelsea experienced a 50 percent increase.

Police described much of the increase as preventable at the last meeting of the 6th precinct community council before the gatherings were discontinued. While not happening as part of any identifiable criminal trend, the events occur randomly by perpetrators taking advantage of overlooked vulnerabilities, such as unlocked doors and unattended valuables. Police described reports of people walking down streets and randomly trying doors or looking into vestibules in an opportunistic search for anything easy to take.

There was an important and helpful discussion among those in attendance on how to spot problematic situations. Videos have shown perpetrators finding locked doors easy to bypass, and residents described peculiarities at their own buildings. One resident described how the front door to her building shuts properly during the summer but doesn’t fully close during the winter. And an officer described how he was investigating at an upscale doorman building and found numerous residents had left their doors unlocked. Police stressed the importance of being vigilant about these kinds of susceptibilities, and directed people to report any suspicious behavior.

Another resident reported success at her building after posting a theft prevention flyer which led to increased vigilance, and police acknowledge that the rise in e-commerce has likely contributed to the spike in burglaries.

The NYPD suggests the following to help prevent package thefts:

  • Select the option to have someone sign for the delivery and show ID
  • Provide a shipping address where someone will be home to accept delivery
  • Obtain insurance for valuable deliveries
  • Leave instructions for where you want your deliveries (back door, with neighbor, etc.)

It was also mentioned that companies such as Amazon and UPS have ship-to-store and secure locker delivery options which may be convenient.

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