Rash of Burglaries Bedevil; Common Sense Can Soothe

Crime prevention handouts were distributed in response to recent burglaries. Photo by Tabia C. Robinson.

BY TABIA C. ROBINSON | Package delivery services and careless residents are supplying burglars, free of charge, with one of the most important tools for committing crime: opportunity.

That’s what nearly two dozen Chelsea residents learned while attending Oct. 25’s 10th Precinct Community Council meeting. At the outset, Commanding Officer Capt. Paul Lanot noted that crime in the precinct is up five percent for the month, due in large part to burglaries in residential buildings — none of which were cases of forced entry.

“The burglaries are happening in four- and five-story walk-ups,” said Lanot. “We’re urging you all to lock your doors and windows.”

Packages are also being stolen because delivery people from UPS and FedEx, among other companies, are leaving items at the lobby doors instead of delivering directly to the recipient and getting a signature. Capt. Lanot said that if community members see someone leaving packages outside the building or in the lobby, to call the company and/or 311.

Officer Jarett Di Lorenzo, of Crime Prevention, suggested that if residents see anyone suspicious in the building who they haven’t seen before, say hello (to possibly scare them off) or, if they try to come in the door at the same time a resident does, refuse them entry by telling them to either use their key or call the person they’re coming to see.

There were crime prevention books given out at the meeting for neighborhood residents to take, packed with useful tips. To get your own copy, stop by the precinct or send an email to Officer Di Lorenzo at jarett.dilorenzo@nypd.org.

Another pressing issue for the neighborhood, according to Capt. Lanot, is traffic. There have been 925 moving vehicle violations this month. For the year, that number is 9,573. In the 10-day period between Oct. 14 and 24, there were 51 moving vehicle violations — with bicycles accounting for 30 of those violations.

Detective Mike Petrillo, of Community Affairs, encouraged those in attendance to ask questions about the rash of burglaries or talk about any pressing issues they had.

A resident of Penn South, Ben Friedman, expressed his concern for the upcoming holiday season. He said there are a lot of people in the city during the season, and everyone should be wary of pickpockets. Another local, Dr. Sidney Rosenblum, said, “The bikes seem to be getting out of control exponentially.” He added that much of the danger to pedestrians comes from a limited amount of space on the streets.

L to R: Detective Salvatore Saetta of Community Affairs, Officer Jarett Di Lorenzo, Capt. Paul Lanot, Council VP Vinny Pizzonia and Council Pres. Larry O’Neill. Photo by Tabia C. Robinson.

Capt. Lanot urged everyone in attendance to not engage the bicyclists, and asked for specific examples of where bicyclists are not following the law, promising to send officers to troublesome locations. Two of the intersections named were W. 22nd St. and Eighth Ave., and W. 17th St. and Eighth Ave.

On the same topic of traffic and safety, Friedman also expressed concern about lanes being reduced because of construction on W. 26th and 28th Sts. Detective Petrillo said although he understands the safety concerns, the precinct is not the point of contact for such concerns. Residents need to contact their elected officials, the Department of Transportation, and the Department of Buildings.

The 10th Precinct is located at 230 W. 20th St. (btw. Seventh & Eighth Aves.). Commander: Capt. Paul Lanot. Main number: 212-741-8211. Community Affairs: 212-741-8226. Crime Prevention: 212-741-8226. Domestic Violence: 212-741-8216. Youth Officer: 212-741-8211. Auxiliary Coordinator: 212-924-3377. Detective Squad: 212-741-8245. The Community Council meets on the last Wed. of the month, 7 p.m., at the 10th Precinct or other locations to be announced.

West 22nd St. and Eighth Ave., one of the intersections mentioned by residents as a spot where bicyclists and pedestrians compete for limited space. Photo by Scott Stiffler.