On Dec. 22, the NYPD 6th Precinct Community Council Hosted their final board meeting of the year via Zoom, rounding off the discussion on crime statistics and prevention in the Greenwich Village and the West Village areas.
NYPD 6th Precinct Commanding Chief, Captain Stephen Spataro was the main speaker at the meeting, and after providing a brief overview of the various issues they face, he highlighted that the biggest matter this month–and since the rise of the COVID-19–pandemic has been package theft with one particular culprit standing out above all others this holiday season.
“We do have a pattern. There is a person dressed up as a FedEx employee going in and taking packages out. We’ve reached out to a department at FedEx, and we don’t believe the person is currently employed by FedEx. They could have bought the uniform,” Spataro said.
The suspect is described as a light-skinned man around 40 years old wearing the traditional black and purple FedEx clothing. This individual is reported to enter premises without packages and then is seen again leaving with boxes under his arm. “We identified that he is probably a perpetrator and is not a legitimate FedEx employee. He is going into the vestibule with no packages. He is going in with nothing and coming out with packages. That is a pretty good indication, and that doesn’t sit right,” Spataro said.
Due to the holiday season, December is the highest-rated month for this kind of theft. In regard to crime prevention, Spataro advises everyone to take a look at their building’s entrance. If they think that someone can get into their building easily, they should request the landlord or superintendent install a steel plate along the entrance door so that it’s difficult for someone to tamper with.
If you have any information on a crime or any other incident, Spataro stressed that you should contact the police department immediately.
“Crime prevention officers have visited various areas to offer simple solutions such as placing a steel plate on a door to stop someone from breaking the door. Take a look at your doors, if you are not sure if it’s secure, the NYPD offers a free survey to give recommendations on how to fix it,” Spataro said.
Additionally, the captain stressed that if you see someone who does not live in the building, do not confront them. Observe the person’s appearance, so that you can provide a detailed description of the individual, specifically pay attention to their shoes. “Shoes are really good because they are less likely to change. Call and the NYPD will investigate,” Spataro said.
The Zoom session on Dec. 22 was the last meeting for the year and their second to be held virtually. For Officer Maureen Carey, these digital sessions have a different tone and atmosphere, but for now the Zoom meetings help residents keep up to date on information regarding the state of their neighborhood crime statistics, as well as affording residents the opportunity to ask the department’s Commanding Officer questions concerning them about their neighborhood.
“I think it is really important that the community take a vested interest in the safety of their own community and your interests is what makes everyone safe and helps us to do our job,” said Spataro.
After underscoring the package theft issue, Spataro dived right into an overview of the crime statistics over a 28-day period and year to day measurement. He expressed that overall crime is down by about 21%, however, burglaries, robberies, and felony assaults are the biggest issues still being faced.
“Those are troubling,” Spataro said, explaining the definition of these crimes to attendees. “Robbery [is] forcibly taking property and burglary [is] entering a building or dwelling and removing property.” The numbers can be slightly misleading because these are the types of crimes that are mostly reported but Spataro says that doesn’t mean that the precinct doesn’t take other crimes seriously. “Those are things that we can address the most.”
Spataro encouraged everyone in the virtual meeting to contact them when there is an issue. He explained that reporting a crime is essential to improving the quality of life within the neighborhood. Otherwise, resources cannot be allocated to deal with the problem.
Usually on the last Wednesday of each month (apart from July and August) the NYPD 6th Precinct Community Council hosts an evening gathering at Our Lady of Pompeii Church; however, due to the pandemic they shifted to a digital only program.
If you are interested in finding out more about your local precinct’s community meetings, visit https://www1.nyc.gov/site/nypd/bureaus/patrol/find-your-meeting.page