Meatpacking mayhem: Thefts and assaults surged in club zone | East Villager & Lower East Sider

Meatpacking mayhem: Thefts and assaults surged in club zone

The Police Department’s interactive map shows a high volume of crime in the Meatpacking District this year, represented by the larger circles in the image’s upper left corner. The largest circles signify 24 to 34 crimes, while the smallest ones show locations of only one to three crimes.
The Police Department’s interactive map shows a high volume of crime in the Meatpacking District this year, represented by the larger circles in the image’s upper left corner. The largest circles signify 24 to 34 crimes, while the smallest ones show locations of only one to three crimes.

By SAM SPOKONY  |  While citywide crime has fallen to record lows, felony crimes in the Village actually rose over all in 2013, owing mainly to a sizable increase in theft and assault.

As of Dec. 22, the Sixth Precinct — which covers the area from 14th St. to Houston St. west of Broadway — reported an 11.3 percent rise in grand larceny, with a total of 1,226 incidents, plus a 14.6 percent rise in felony assault, with a total of 133 incidents, according to New York Police Department data released online. Petty larceny — thefts in which the stolen property is worth under $1,000 — also went up by 7.1 percent, with a total of 1,522 incidents.

Statistical increases for all three of those crimes within the precinct are even more pronounced when viewed in the context of the past two years of data. This year’s grand larceny total was up 25 percent compared to 2011, while petty larceny was up 15.8 percent and felony assault was up 19.8 percent versus two years ago.

The department’s recently launched interactive crime map, which is also available online, shows that the majority of the Sixth Precinct’s grand larcenies this year were localized to three areas: around the New York University campus, just below Washington Square Park; around the Sheridan Square intersection, near the No. 1 subway train entrance and around Christopher St. and Seventh Ave. South; and nightclubs in the Meatpacking District.

In particular, trendy Meatpacking District clubs such as Cielo, at 18 Little W. 12th St., and Tenjune, at 26 Little W. 12th St., featured prominently in this newspaper’s weekly Police Blotter in 2013, played host to numerous purse, wallet and cell phone thefts.

That area around the Meatpacking clubs was also a relative hot spot for assault, along with similar establishments in the South Village, according to the N.Y.P.D. crime map.

Perhaps the most memorable Meatpacking assault took place in November, when famed jewelry designer James de Givenchy was arrested following his alleged attack on a police officer on W. 13th St. Cops were towing de Givenchy’s Mercedes-Benz when he reportedly went out of control and punched an officer in the face — after a taser had no effect on the jeweler — forcing other officers to mace de Givenchy several times in order to subdue him.

But totals for other major crimes in the Village have gone down this year, with the Sixth Precinct reporting, as of Dec. 22, a 43 percent decrease in rape, with a total of eight incidents; an 8.6 percent decrease in burglary, with a total of 127 incidents; and a 6.8 percent decrease in robbery, with a total of 136 incidents.

The Sixth Precinct’s lone shooting incident for the year, in May, was a highly publicized one, involving the death of Mark Carson, a 32-year-old gay man, near the corner of W. Eighth St. and Sixth Ave.

Police quickly arrested Elliot Morales, 33, accusing him of the allegedly homophobia-laced, fatal shooting. Morales, after pleading not guilty, is still on trial for second-degree murder as a hate crime, among other charges.

Over in the East Village, the Ninth Precinct this year reported overall felony crime totals that were, as of Dec. 22, almost identical to those of 2012.

The precinct saw similarly sizable increases in both grand larceny, which was up 10 percent (with a total of 874 incidents), and petty larceny, which was up 9.2 percent (with a total of 1,570 incidents).

Those grand larcenies were relatively spread out within the precinct’s coverage area — between Houston and 14th Sts., east of Broadway — but N.Y.P.D. data show that a large chunk of them took place either along Astor Place, or on the several blocks north of it. The area around E. Fourth St. and Bowery was also somewhat of a hot spot for theft, according to the data. And perhaps surprisingly, Tompkins Square Park averaged only several thefts per month, even during the summer months.

The Ninth Precinct also saw a slight increase in rape (17 total incidents, compared to 15 in 2012), and misdemeanor sex crimes (24 incidents, compared to 22 in 2012). Several of those rapes took place within the numerous public housing buildings along Avenue D, while most of the rest were spread throughout Alphabet City, with only a few of these taking place west of First Ave., according to N.Y.P.D. data.

Numbers for other major crimes in that area were way down.

As of Dec. 22, the precinct reported a 20 percent decrease in robbery, a 13.8 percent decrease in burglary, and a 13.4 percent decrease in felony assault compared to stats from the previous year.

In addition, the precinct reported five shooting incidents over the past year, but only one murder, in July, which also took place along Avenue D, between E. Eighth and Ninth Sts., according to online police data.

In Little Italy and Chinatown, the Fifth Precinct reported a slight decrease in overall felony crimes, although there was once again an upward trend in thefts.

The Fifth Precinct saw a 10 percent rise in grand larceny compared to 2012, with a total of 584 incidents, and a 3.7 percent rise in petty larceny, with a total of 1,260 incidents as of Dec. 22, according to police statistics. Misdemeanor sex crimes were also up by 27.6 percent, with a total of 37 incidents.

But, as with the surrounding precincts, most felony crimes fell, with rape decreasing by 58.3 percent, burglary decreasing by 33 percent and robbery decreasing by 16 percent.

Shooting incidents also decreased in Little Italy and Chinatown, with only two incidents occurring in the precinct as of Dec. 22, compared to four in 2012. There were three murders reported, equaling the total for the previous year.

Over all, felony crimes dropped most significantly this past year within the Seventh Precinct, which covers the corner of the Lower East Side that is bounded on the north side by E. Houston St. and on the west side by Allen St.

In that area there was still a slight increase in theft — grand larceny rose by 3.5 percent, and petty larceny rose by 3.1 percent — but most other crimes were down. Rape decreased by 67 percent, burglary decreased by 26.4 percent, felony assault decreased by 11.2 percent and robbery decreased by 2.1 percent, according to police statistics.

However, 2013 was bookended by two fatal shootings within public housing developments in the precinct.

In January, 16-year-old Raphael Ward was gunned down near the corner of Rivington and Columbia Sts., steps away from his home in Baruch Houses, reportedly after a dispute over a winter jacket.

Although they still haven’t caught the alleged shooter in that incident, police shortly afterward arrested Timothy Montalvo, 16, who later admitted to supplying the gun used in the shooting. Montalvo, who is still on trial, was subsequently charged with murder and criminal possession of a weapon.

And in November, George Taliferro, 30, died after being shot three times on a St. James Place walkway at Smith Houses. As this newspaper reported in the weeks following that incident, it raised concerns among some of the development’s residents over whether or not the murder of Taliferro — who was raised in Smith Houses but at that point lived in a Brooklyn development — was related to a turf war between certain Manhattan and Brooklyn public housing residents.

Taliferro’s alleged shooter, Christopher Delrosario, 19, a Smith Houses resident, was arrested several days after the incident and was charged with second-degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon.