With robberies and assaults in Midtown up more than 100% year over year, a new NYPD unit will add more officers in Times Square and other business hubs across the five boroughs; CBS2 political reporter Marcia Kramer has the story.
KRISTINE JOHNSON: A new NYPD unit will add more officers in Times Square and other business hubs across the five boroughs, all due because robberies and assaults in Midtown are up more than 100% year-over-year.
DICK BRENNAN: And the city says the economic recovery depends on convincing people that it's safe to come back. Here's CBS 2's political reporter Marcia Kramer.
MARCIA KRAMER: The scary stories finally got to them. The 65-year-old Asian woman kicked to the ground and stomped on in what police say is a hate crime.
DANNY DEPAMPHILIS: You walk around in fear.
MARCIA KRAMER: Or the security cameras at Ruby's Bar, which Danny DePamphilis manages, catching crime after crime, including this gunfight along 9th Avenue in the West 40s.
DANNY DEPAMPHILIS: It's getting actually worse.
MARCIA KRAMER: With economic recovery a top priority, the Times Square area accounts for 15% of the city's economy, $58 billion. Former NYPD chief of department Terence Monahan has crafted a plan to establish a new business improvement unit. It's made up of 80 uniformed cops and supervisors with one goal: make people feel safe.
TERENCE MONAHAN: To deal with whatever issues are present within these commercial districts so we can make people feel safe. Coming back to the office, coming back to work.
MARCIA KRAMER: Monahan, the mayor's new safety recovery czar, says the cops will deal with homeless problems, street peddlers, drug use, and crime. The police will also patrol other business districts, from Hudson Yards to Soho.
TERENCE MONAHAN: They're going to be moving around to the different areas within this city that need the help.
MARCIA KRAMER: Monahan says the cops will work with city agencies to help solve problems, including homeless outreach workers. But homeless advocates are not happy. "Mayor de Blasio is planning to deploy police officers into wealthy Midtown Manhattan to rid the area of New Yorkers who have lost their homes is shockingly callous," said Dave Giffen, executive director of the Coalition for the Homeless.
TOM HARRIS: New York City's not going to recover unless Midtown and Times Square recovers. And Times Square and Midtown are not going to recover until we solve some of these challenges.
MARCIA KRAMER: The comeback plan isn't going to be limited to Manhattan. Terry Monahan told me he's going to create police units to deal with problems in outer-borough business districts, like here on Fordham Road in the Bronx. I'm Marcia Kramer, CBS 2 News.
DICK BRENNAN: Now, the new NYPD unit is in addition to the 600 extra police officers in the subway to make people feel safe on returning to work.