NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Business owners and people who live in Hell’s Kitchen say they are fed up with rising crime in their neighborhood.
Thursday afternoon, a group of community activists met with the NYPD to demand police maintain a stronger presence on the blighted city blocks.
Hell’s Kitchen at the corner of Ninth Avenue and 44th Street was like the wild west Tuesday night.
Video shows the firing of bullets, several rounds, that apparently struck no one as the man ran off.
Police say the man is wanted on reckless endangerment and other charges.
The area between Ninth to Eleventh avenues and 42nd to 44th streets is seeing a wave of crime.
Travis Rodgers owns a condo steps away from Tuesday’s gunfire.
“There was a stabbing, a shooting, a fight occurred, there was a woman punching and spitting, so all of that occurred within five hours in a three-block radius,” Rodgers told CBS2’s Dave Carlin.
Paul Fable’s family owns and operates Poseidon Bakery on Ninth Avenue, which dates back to 1950.
“We are very scared,” Fable said.
He says quality of life plummets with a pandemic emptying the streets of tourists and the city filling up hotels with populations that include a mentally unstable or even criminal element, resulting in assaults, fires set by apparent vagrants, robberies, and drug deals and lewd acts out in the open.
Police officers arrive, but then leave again.
“We need this to stop,” Fable said.
“Walk the beat, get to know the folks in the neighborhood, get to know who the troublemakers are,” Rodgers said.
Maintaining a constant police presence is what fearful and angry residents say they need in a Midtown South precinct area where burglaries alone are up 117.7% with 172 so far this year, compared to 79 in the same period last year.
“The drug dealing is a massive part of this because we really feel like that’s what spreading throughout the neighborhood, and they’re also preying upon people that are brought here in the homeless shelters,” community activist and Hell’s Kitchen resident Holly-Anne Devlin said.
Devlin urges all her neighbors to report what they see.
“If people don’t report people using needles in the middle of the afternoon, that’s going to lead to other things, so it’s really important I think to start to report those things so people understand the truth depth of what’s happening,” she said.
Devlin was in a group of seven community members who met privately with NYPD officials Thursday afternoon. She says their issues were heard, but the department is not ready to announce any policy changes yet.