Retail thefts, or grand larcenies, have spiked in Manhattan’s busiest tourist areas, causing concern among business owners and the public.
According to the latest statistics from the New York City Police Department (NYPD), grand larcenies have increased by over 60% in the past year in these neighborhoods.
People Are Blaming New York’s Lenient Bail Laws
New York City is grappling with a grand larceny crisis, with incidents of thefts of $1,000 or more skyrocketing by over 60% in certain precincts last year, according to the New York Police Department (NYPD).
Many blame the state’s lenient bail laws, which allow suspects to return to the streets and commit more crimes after being arrested.
The problem is so great that Mayor Eric Adams met with business leaders earlier this month to talk about the concerning issue. Although sources said the meeting was short and adjourned 20 minutes later.
— New York Post (@nypost) December 18, 2022
This year, grand larcenies increased 27.6% citywide, compared to the same time frame last year. The biggest increase of 63.4% occurred in the Midtown South Precinct, which encompasses Madison Square Garden, Grand Central Terminal, and Times Square.
This has resulted in 2,287 incidents this year compared to 1,387 in 2021 in the precinct. Tourists are also frequently targeted, with the Sixth Precinct, which includes Greenwich Village, seeing a 57.3% increase in grand larcenies, rising from 853 incidents to 1,340.
Root Cause of the Problem Lies in the Bail Laws
Some store owners have taken matters into their own hands, arming themselves with weapons such as machetes to protect their businesses. However, others believe the root cause of the problem lies in the bail laws.
According to Jim Giddon, whose men’s clothing store in Gramercy was robbed twice in the same week by the same group, there is a prevalent belief among criminals that they will not be caught for their crimes.
Gary Karry, manager of Gem Pawnbrokers, had a thief easily snatch a ring and glasses worth over $1,000 from his store over the summer. Karry said he now keeps a machete in case of a repeat occurrence.
The problem is not limited to businesses, as tourists are also frequently robbed in these areas. Shahid Munir, manager of Antiques on 5th, said the police have come to his store at least five times this year to retrieve surveillance footage of robberies outside his store.
Ava Homsey, who relocated to New York from Boston earlier this year, stated the situation is deteriorating and people are becoming more desperate due to difficult circumstances.
She also mentioned she heard the current situation is much worse, compared to last year.
Woke exodus! California and New York have each lost more than half a MILLION residents since April 2020 as people flee due to surging home prices and out-of-control crimehttps://t.co/s2UmwutwsY
— Viola Bergeron WILL NOT COMPLY!!!! (@StarSeed_2020) December 27, 2022
Gerard Pozo, an accountant from Harlem, expressed his surprise at the perception of high levels of crime, stating that although crime tends to fluctuate, it is currently “100% worse” than it was before.