Upper West Side mothers raise concerns about crime

A shooting in broad daylight at a playground on West 64th Street in October capped off a string of violent incidents that included also a 57-year-old woman being viciously attacked and robbed and an 85-year-old woman by being robbed by two teens—all within a 10-block radius.

And while the headline-grabbing crimes may have subsided for now, concerns amongst residents have not.

"There is a growing sense of unease I think, among several hundred of us, that we don't really feel safe," said Elizabeth Carr, an Upper West Side mom of three.

Carr started a Facebook group of concerned local mothers on October 22, the day after the shooting near the playground. Two weeks later, it's grown to include more than 400 members, hoping that collectively their voices will be heard.

"One of the prevailing themes has been that, 'Well, it's not the '90s' or 'It's not like it used to be' or 'The streets are not wildly dangerous,'" she said. "But I think the data shows things trending in the wrong direction."

While overall major crimes are down in the 20th Precinct, where the violent incidents happened last month, robberies are up 33% from the same 28-day period last year. Grand larceny and sex crimes are also up.

The latest citywide statistics showed upticks in murder, robbery and felony assault, though NYPD officials at a news conference on Thursday stopped short of calling it a trend.

Late last month on the Upper West Side, a meeting with the local commanding officer didn't calm nerves, especially because the precinct lost 25 officers in the past year reportedly due to attrition.

"We are calling on our elected officials to ensure our police precinct is fully staffed," Carr said.

The concerns prompted Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal to send a letter to NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill demanding officers be reassigned to the precinct but so far there have been no assurances that would happen before March.

The moms in the group hope to hold a meeting next week to come up with a concrete plan of action.


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