Cops have seen a significant uptick in robberies throughout the transit system so far this year, but they’ve caught many of the offenders, police officials reported Wednesday.
Chief of Transit Edward Delatorre said there have been 132 robberies since January 1 with 97 arrests. He said some of those arrested have extensive criminal histories.
However, he also noted that of the 97 arrests, 43 of them are juveniles — that’s 44% of the total number of robbery suspects arrested. Many of these individuals allegedly robbed other young people.
Delatorre said many of the robberies were committed on trains in Brooklyn, so officers were re-deployed there to combat the uptick.
“We had 97 arrests on these robberies so those people committing these crimes are most probably going to get caught,” Delatorre said. “In January we moved many resources into Brooklyn back into the system, but we are seeing some people committing these crimes over and over.”
Delatorre emphasized that despite the uptick, he said they are averaging one major crime for every million people who ride the subways.
Police officials have become concerned about increasing crimes by juveniles and are making efforts to reach out to them to prevent them from committing crimes in the first place.
Commissioner Dermot Shea said he was concerned about an uptick in “youth on youth crime” such as stealing shoes. He said there has been an increase in juvenile crime, mostly in upper Manhattan and the Bronx.
Shea said 300 officers were dedicated to working on juvenile crimes, mostly robberies, in which youths are stealing from vulnerable youths. He said however, it will take more than just working with the criminal justice system to convince youth to stay away from crime.
“We can do more with kids in this city and we are working with many outside organizations with some good activity outside the criminal justice system,” Shea said. “It would be a shame not to capitalize on these programs so that kids don’t get in trouble in the first place.”
He has emphasized putting more resources behind the Police Athletic League and Explorers Program that he says helps “build bridges” with youth. He bemoaned that it “was a sin for any gym to be closed.”
“We have to do all that is possible and invest money and time because if we don’t get this right, we will deal with the repercussions,” Shea said.
Officials have been focused on youth crime of late, especially after the murder of Barnard College freshman Tessa Majors in Morningside Park in November by juveniles. Two teens, ages 13 and 14, stand accused in her murder, with a third teen being sought.
“A lot of good is happening and we are in amazing times, but we have to make sure we are doing right – we shouldn’t have gyms closed to our kids or have kids hanging out with nothing to do,” Shea said.
Nurses added to NYPD for homeless outreach
The NYPD also announced it will add 12 nurses to the NYPD to go out with police officers to outreach to homeless people to give proper medical and mental evaluations.
Currently, the NYPD has hired three nurses and will hire a total of 12 to go out with patrols to work with the homeless and determine whether some of those people need to be hospitalized or get proper medical and mental treatment.
“If we have a nurse on scene, we can have those people evaluated for physical or mental issues, and if needed we can have them removed to a hospital and get treatment,” said Shea, who added they are working closely with the Department of Homeless Services. “We don’t want these people back on the same corner with the same problems – we want them to get care and proper housing.”