NYPD announces initiative to combat crime against the city's elderly

EMBED </>More Videos

CeFaan Kim has the story.

The NYPD says they're seeing a disturbing trend in crime, an uptick in the number of elderly victims being targeted.

The victim in the East Village says two men tied him up, and threatened to kill him.

He was so terrified, he called a neighbor to check and see who was at his door before he answered it for our Eyewitness News crew.

He agreed to speak about what happened to him off-camera.

The 71-year-old man says that one of the two men who robbed him came dressed as a building worker.

It happened Tuesday night at the Wald Houses near East 4th Street.

He was expecting maintenance workers that night so he answered.

But the second he opened his door, he had no chance.

Two men tied his hands with rope, threw him against the wall, and then threatened to kill him if he didn't look away.

They ransacked his bedroom, stole his phone and thousands of dollars in cash.

The victim had just returned from the bank.

"Advice to try to if you can, try to get a friend to go with you. If you go to an ATM or a bank look around, make sure you're not being followed and if you are certainly alert someone if you can't call 911," said Carlos Gomez, NYPD Chief of Department.

NYPD officials on Friday announced a new initiative to combat a rise in robberies of senior citizens.

Just Thursday, investigators say a man snatched a purse out of an 85-year-old grandmother's hand inside a Bronx apartment building on Randall Avenue.

On Tuesday on the Upper East Side, police say a man came up behind an 85-year-old man, punched him in the side of the head and stole nothing.

The victim was knocked to the ground in Carl Schurz Park and injured his head and face.

"It certainly catches our attention and the officers are upset when they see elderly victims being subjected to crime," Gomez said.

Last month, a 93-year-old woman in a wheelchair was mugged in East Harlem.

Police say the suspect stuck his hands in her bra and took the $600 in Social Security money that she cashed a few doors down.

"It is money I worked for. I worked for that damn money," said Bernice Starnes, robbery victim.

In September, a heartless thief snatched 85-year-old Barnes' purse as the great-grandmother was sitting in her wheelchair in the Tremont section of the Bronx.

The NYPD is now taking proactive steps.

"I've asked my commanders, the community affairs officers, the NCOs, the crime prevention officers to discuss situational awareness, especially when they go to senior centers and other meetings," Gomez said.

Suspects were arrested only in the last two incident.

So far, there are no arrests in the East Village or Upper East Side incidents.
Related Topics:
elder abusecrimerobberyassaultNew York City
(Copyright ©2018 WABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.)