New NYPD command center in SoHo hopes to curb increase in crime

Saturday, January 16, 2016
New NYPD command center in SoHo after spike in burglaries
AJ Ross reports from SoHo.

SOHO, Manhattan (WABC) -- There's a noticeable police presence on the streets in one of Manhattan's most popular neighborhoods after a spike in crime.

Burglaries alone are up more than 50% over last year in SoHo.

SoHo is known for setting trends, not being the focal point of a crime trend.

But with thefts and burglaries on the rise, police are now taking a hard stand, committing a command center and extra officers on nearly every corner.

Fendi, Louis, and now the NYPD are taking up shop in SoHo with a new police command center stationed at Greene and Prince Streets. It's aimed to attract eyeballs and deter would be thieves from targeting the popular shopping and art oasis.

"Walking up and down the street, I noticed them standing outside of each of the major shops and now obviously this command center here, it's pretty significant," said David Goldberg, a SoHo resident.

According to police, over the past few months several stores were targeted and robbed by large groups of thieves.

But, since committing a full time detail and command center in early January the crime trend has slowed.

"Since January 8th when this detail began, we haven't had a single incident in one of these stores," said Peter Donald, NYPD spokesman.

"I always think it's so safe around here and very sort of touristy," said Kimberly Brown, an employee in the area.

"I feel badly for the managers of the retail stores because they have to deal with it," said Marko Bon, a SoHo resident.

"I think it's really good because as we've been walking down the block there's been police on every corner and it does make you feel a little bit safer," said Johanna Martinez, an employee in the area.

New York City Council Member Margaret Chin says there's also been an increase in complaints from people who live and work in SoHo at their monthly community meetings, and something needed to be done.

"I think it's important to really have a strong presence in neighborhood so that residents and businesses know that the police are here," Chin said.

So will the higher police visibility equate to lower crime trends? Only time will tell, but for now people there say they don't mind their new neighbors.

"I have no problem with them being around," a resident said.

"I'm glad that I've been seeing more cops lately," another resident said.