NYPD’s David Ehrenberg Talks Safety, Security in the Flatiron District
On Tuesday, May 20th, Deputy Inspector David Ehrenberg, Commanding Officer of New York City’s 13th Precinct, gave a presentation on district safety and security at the TD Bank at 260 Park Avenue South (at E. 21st Street). Captain Steven Hellman also spoke, expanding on the topics covered by Ehrenberg. The event was the latest in the Flatiron Speaker Series, organized by the Flatiron 23rd Street Partnership to give prominent neighborhood figures an opportunity to speak on topics relevant to the neighborhood. The New York Police Department leaders take pride in their successful curtailment of crime in Union Square Park and their implementation of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero, intended to eliminate traffic-related deaths and cut down on accidents. That being said, they rely on citizens to help get the job done and had much helpful advice to offer. Hellman and Ehrenberg opened the floor to questions following their talks. Refreshments were available for attendees and many stayed after the event to chat and network.
In his presentation, Ehrenberg addressed security issues that arise for residents and businesses and gave advice on how to safeguard against criminal activities, especially theft. He emphasized how many refuse to take common sense steps to protect their property. For instance, unlocked doors and fire escapes are a major hazard. Security cameras installed incorrectly or not at all make it difficult for police to track down criminals. Ehrenberg recommends calling 311 to inform the city government to aid in collaboration with the NYPD in pursuing crimes.
Career criminals are responsible for many thefts, allowing them to avoid detainment. They are aware of forensics and know how to bypass security cameras (many wear hoodies). Some businesses and residents with theft insurance are not diligent about security, as they will be compensated for property stolen. They are not as likely to vigorously pursue criminals. However, this attitude allows career burglars to commit future crimes. Therefore, the police urge citizens to do all in their power to help apprehend them.
While some burglars operate under cover of darkness, others hide in plain sight. A surprising number of doormen, security guards, employees and residents do not challenge unfamiliar people. All it takes is a simple “excuse me, may I help you?” to deter many crimes. Hellman warns against falling for common ploys, such as requests to use the restroom or claims that the criminal is meeting someone. If a stranger doesn’t have a legitimate reason to be on the premises, they should be asked to leave.
New Yorkers are familiar with the phrase: “if you see something, say something.” This applies to terrorists, but it should apply to crime, as well. Hellman insists that if everyone followed this guideline, it would make it much easier for the NYPD to catch criminals for the benefit of all citizens.