Following an increase of robberies and shootings in Midtown Manhattan, the NYPD has increased patrols and set up a mobile command center in the neighborhood.
Midtown, which is full of office buildings and is popular with tourists, is one of the area’s the city is betting on to drive the return to normalcy for office workers and visitors, the Wall Street Journal reported. Prior to the pandemic, hotels in the area typically saw 80-90% occupancy every night.
An NYPD truck and metal barriers have been set up at the intersection of Eighth Avenue and West 38th Street, and another 24 officers will patrol along Eighth Avenue and Ninth Avenue. Homeless outreach workers will accompany the officers in interactions with homeless people.
The move, said NYPD Assistant Chief Stephen Hughes, will “reassure the public and deter crime” as the area grapples with an increase in drugs and violence.
“The residents are afraid to come out,” Hughes said. “The businesses are concerned about bringing their workers back.” The increased police presence, he hopes, will deter crime and encourage the area’s recovery
Police counted 174 felony assaults and 150 robberies from January 1 through May 30 2021, roughly the triple the number of those crimes committed during the same time period last year.
There were four shootings in the Patrol Borough Manhattan South, including a shooting in Times Square that injured bystanders, among them a 4-year-old girl.
Hughes attributed the rise in violence to the slowing of court operations during the pandemic, bail reform, and homelessness.