NEW YORK - Residents of a block in Manhattan's Greenwich Village got so fed up with the loitering, drugs, panhandling, and crime that they teamed up to pay for their own private security.
They say things have gotten worse since the pandemic started in the city.
It's taking place on W 4th St. between McDougall and Sixth Ave. Residents and businesses put up $18,000 to pay for two officers for the month of August.
Among the complaints are a rash of muggings and other violence in the area. The data support their concerns.
NYPD statistics show overall crime in the area is up by 80% in 2022.
Among the businesses that contributed to pay for private security was Washington Square Diner.
"The worst it's been in 21 years when it comes to crime," owner Elias Tsikis said to FOX 5 News in a statement.
A resident started a group for concerned residents. In the end, they decided to test a pilot test with armed guards. The pilot program ended at the start of September.
"When our security guards were present, it did seem much safer and there was a sense of calm when they were walking the street. But the moment they went off duty, the deluge of lawlessness returned, instantly," Brian Maloney said in a statement to FOX 5 News.
The residents are now evaluating their next steps.
"Armed guards are nothing new in the city," former NYPD Lieutenant Darrin Porcher says. "This begs the question as to what are we going to do based on the sentiment of public safety."