Time to call in backup.
Crime and quality of life complaints have gotten so bad in the West Village that a community group has hired armed guards to patrol their street and stop chronic drug dealing, crack smoking and public defecation.
The West 4th Mac/6th Block Association hired gun-toting security officers from Black Tie Protection Services in upstate Monroe to patrol West Fourth Street between MacDougal Street and Sixth Avenue at various times of the day during August.
Resident Brian Maloney said his neighborhood, where he was 16, is suffering from an influx of emotionally disturbed drug addicts and an exodus of cops, made worse by bail reform and crime-soft Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.
Private guards are the only logical way to combat the chaos of a revolving door justice system, he said.
“We have residents who say, ‘We’re a liberal city. The Village is a very liberal area.” Well, I’ve lost my liberality in that regard. It baffles me,” Maloney told the Post. “The security definitely gave me security.”
Maloney and his neighbors are not alone. Other groups, such as the Village Alliance Business Improvement District and the West 9th Street Block Association, have hired unarmed private security guards to patrol their streets in the past.
Maloney said in the first two weeks, armed guards confronted 200 users, traders and vagrants and chased them off the block. But as soon as a shift was over, the shady characters came back.
“The Village has always had a certain grubbyness and lowly charm, but now it’s just lawlessness,” said another resident. “With security, it was such a relief to come home and not find anyone on my stairs. I was relieved not to find the same dealers and addicts on my block. It felt like 2018 again.”
Cyndi Slater of Florida moved into an apartment on West 4th Street with her daughter Jessica in May and was immediately horrified.
“The first night we were there, a guy walked right up to us, pulled his pants down and showed his penis,” she said. “People were peeing on the stairs next door. We’re walking around and stepping over piles of shit. There is open drug use and trafficking. And then there’s just the constant yelling and threats all night. Everything was so awesome.”
Slater said much of that dirt and grime was gone when the patrols showed up. “I’d like to see year-round security, but unfortunately that’s very expensive and unsustainable.”
The security firm was paid $18,000 a month, Maloney said. The bloc association could extend the guards’ hiring, but it’s up in the air for now as just 10 out of 50 potential residents participated in what was seen as a test program.
“We need 24-hour security,” Maloney said. “The frustrating thing is having to pay for it out of pocket, on top of exorbitant taxes and soaring grocery store prices. Taxes are rising and our quality of life is falling. We shouldn’t have to pay for this, but there really is no police presence and anyone they arrest is released an hour later.”
From drug-crammed Washington Square Park to the crime levels of Escape From New York, The Post has previously reported on the village’s ongoing decay.
The NYPD’s 6th Ward, which patrols the West Village, saw the largest increase in total serious crime in all of Manhattan — 81% — with burglaries and grand larceny leading the charge. There have been two homicides so far compared to zero in 2021, and rape and assault are up 43% and 8% respectively. Petty theft rose from 840 to 1,334 – or 59% – and assaults rose 40% from 197 last year to 275.
But some called the private patrols a waste of money.
“I paid my donation for the month. It came down to a few hundred bucks, but the security made no difference to me at all, so I see no reason to have them come back,” said Elias Tsikis, owner of the Washington Square Diner. “I still had the same crazy people trying to get into my store or scamming and harassing my customers outside.”
Photos provided to the Post by residents show heroin addicts slumped on steps, a man walking through the neighborhood with his penis hanging out of his waistband, and homeless people urinating on the sidewalk.
“We see defecation, urination, masturbation. Any kind of -ation, we have them,” Maloney said.
One resident, who wished to remain anonymous, said she had never seen her neighborhood and the city as a whole look so bad.
“I lived through the ’70s and ’80s when people said things were really tough. I was never afraid then. I am now,” she said. “It all comes from above, and [Manhattan DA] Bragg didn’t help any of us.”
https://nypost.com/2022/09/10/nyc-block-hires-armed-security-guards-to-patrol-against-drug-ridden-street/ The New York bloc hires armed security guards to patrol a drug-infested street