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Sunday, July 14, 2024

NYC Crime Wave Spirals; Thefts & Shootings Almost Daily Occurrence

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By: Donny Simcha Guttman

The multi-year crime wave affecting NYC in recent years continues to spread to communities previously not thought to be vulnerable to theft and other crimes. A robbery or a shooting in NYC is not a novelty anymore; it’s a daily occurrence affecting residents and tourists alike shopping in stores or people busy in their daily routines. Recently, the town of Williamsburg, located in northern Brooklyn, has had an outbreak of high-profile thefts in local businesses. A few weeks ago at a Chinese restaurant called Birds of a Feather, a few mask-wearing men carrying a gun interrupted people’s dinner time, where they took people’s phones and expensive watches. The police recorded that one of the watches was worth up to $100,000.

“We haven’t had crime like this penetrate the neighborhood in a very long time,” said Allyson Stone, a board member for the North Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce. A witness of the Birds of a Feather robbery said to the NY Times, “It did surprise me in a neighborhood like Williamsburg. [Since it’s a] higher income, more gentrified neighborhood. [Residents] expect that like, that kind of stuff doesn’t happen.” Another robbery, which occurred almost concurrently, took place at Marlow and Sons, an oyster bar near the previously stricken Birds of a Feather. On May 31st, two men demanded some people sitting outside the restaurant to hand over their watches to them; the watches were collectively worth $40,000.

And in another incident that took place three weeks later, two men robbed an Italian restaurant Greenwich Village customer of a $100,000 watch. According to NYPD stats, thefts are almost 5% higher than they were at the same point last year, however, thefts have largely been confined to poorer communities, where less security precautions are in place. The string of robberies now afflicting affluent neighborhoods like Williamsburg is a novelty in the trend of thefts in NYC.

As a result of the increasing threat to all types of communities, residents have been leaving valuables at home to prevent a robbery; Sean Wilson who witnessed one of the aforementioned robberies, said to the Times about his new habit of locking up his possessions, “I don’t think that was a thought that I’ve ever really had.” Birds of a Feather owners Yiming Wang and Xian Zhang said that in response to the robbery, they would be upping their security, including considering hiring a security guard.

Such trends do not bode well for city-goers looking for a night out, but Andrew Rigie, the executive director of the New York City Hospitality Alliance has said, “There’s more than 25,000 restaurants across the city of New York with millions of people eating out all the time without incident. People should not be worried about going out to eat.” Notable in some of these incidents have been the guns that perpetrators have possessed, as New York State is known for strict gun control and anti-second Amendment measures.

Many pro-gun rights activists have predicted and warned states passing anti-gun measures, that the black market for gun ownership would only exponentially rise, which would also allow criminals more access to guns, while law-abiding citizens will not have anything to protect themselves or their families.

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