As the Adams administration touts progress against gun violence and the proliferation of ghost guns in New York City — as citywide shooting incidents decreased by 24.2% in every patrol borough except northern Queens, according to NYPD monthly statistics — Bronx residents believe the city isn’t doing enough to prevent or follow-up on robberies and larcenies that have escalated in the borough.
Robberies in the Bronx climbed by 48% in June and a 25% rise in grand larceny incidents has many residents on edge.
When 23-year-old Ali Wahad was robbed in Parkchester’s Starling Avenue last month at around 1 p.m., he told the Bronx Times, despite coming forward to the police and providing a description, he said he was never contacted by the precinct for a follow-up and believes his attacker will never be caught.
Wahid said that his robbery — which included being held up at gunpoint and having his iPhone, wallet and personal family keepsakes taken before his attacker fled eastbound — has traumatized him.
“I just don’t feel safe walking outside at night or with money, by myself,” said Ali, who lives on Archer Street.”It sounds silly as a 23-year-old man that I need a buddy system to stay safe, but people are looking for any opportunity to take something that isn’t there. And in my opinion, the police aren’t really interested in looking into these robberies.”
In the Bronx’s 43rd Precinct, a patrol area focused in the Soundview section, robberies rose by 34% in June compared the prior year, with a variety of snatch-and-grabs near the Bronx River Houses, a low-income public housing project that holds around 230 residents.
The precinct warned residents on Twitter this week that “crews of thieves” are particularly targeting the elderly, looking for an opportune time to snatch personal jewelry from them. But some residents have no faith that the NYPD can catch would-be robbers, and cite arduous police protocol as a barrier to even filing a report.
“The time it takes to file a police report and get asked 30 questions about how you could’ve prevented your own robbery isn’t worth it, because they don’t catch these people and then I’m still out of my belongings,” said Monica Hernandez, a Bronx River Houses native who said she had $600 in jewelry and her wallet taken from her in her own hallway in February. “It’s not new either, they’ve been known that people get jacked up around here, and if isn’t a gun or drugs, they aren’t interested.”
Patrol for the NYPD, officials tell the Bronx Times, has been hampered by a self-described exodus of officers, according to union head Pat Lynch, as more than 2,100 cops have resigned or retired just this year; with 523 leaving the agency in June alone.
Overall, crime in the Bronx rose by 25% in June, which was lower than the citywide year-over-year crime rate increase of 31.1%. Citywide, six of the seven major index-crime categories saw increases, driven by a 41% increase in grand larceny, a 36.1% increase in robbery and a 33.8% rise in burglary, according to the NYPD.
The story has been updated at 5:23 p.m. on July 13.
Reach Robbie Sequeira at firstname.lastname@example.org or (718) 260-4599. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes