Thursday, April 17, 2008

High crime in the footprint? Officers head, instead, to the mall

Remember the Empire State Development Corporation's Blight Study? Its claims of high crime in the Atlantic Yards footprint were dubious, as I wrote in July 2006, and Supreme Court Justice Joan Madden, in her January dismissal of the case challenging the Atlantic Yards environmental review, punted on assessing the issue.

Well, now comes a piece of evidence that further challenges the study's claims. The Daily News, in a story published Tuesday on a "crime wave" in Clinton Hill, reports:
The need for a police presence at the Atlantic Terminal Mall is also cutting into the ranks of officers policing the community, the source said.

Not the malls

Remember, the AY footprint contains sectors from three separate precincts, and the only sector where a rise in crime had been seen--the source of the Blight Study's sweeping conclusions--was Sector 88E, shown at right. (ESDC graphic adapted by Lumi Rolley of NoLandGrab; click to enlarge.)

The report tried to assess whether Forest City Ratner's two malls, in the western end of Sector 88E above Atlantic Avenue and thus the footprint, contribute to crime:
The Atlantic Center and Atlantic Terminal shopping centers are located immediately north of the project site, also within the boundaries of Sector 88E. In an effort to determine whether a large proportion of crimes reported for Sector 88E might have occurred on the Atlantic Center/Atlantic Terminal premises rather than on the project site, crime data were obtained from the security staff at the shopping centers.
Based on this data, which reflects incidents occurring within the Atlantic Center and Atlantic Terminal shopping and parking areas as well as on the surrounding sidewalks, it is unlikely that a large proportion of crimes in sector 88E occurred on the Atlantic Center or Atlantic Terminal premises. For example, while there were 39 robberies in sector 88E in 2005, the shopping center security records indicate that no robberies occurred that year at Atlantic Center or Atlantic Terminal. Similarly, while there were 115 grand larceny crimes reported for sector 88E in 2005, the shopping center security force recorded only one incident of larceny that same year. Although crimes catalogued by the Atlantic Center and Atlantic Terminal security staff are not necessarily the same as those catalogued by the NYPD, the relatively low number of crimes reported at the shopping centers indicates that the high crime rate in sector 88E is more likely a result of crimes occurring on the project site than in Atlantic Center or Atlantic Terminal.

(Emphasis added)

Alternative explanations

As I noted, there are other populated areas in Sector 88E, including the city's tallest public housing tower. Meanwhile, the project site in Sector 88E had businesses but no housing. So the attempt to pin the crimes on the project site, as opposed to the malls or the other segments of Sector 88E, was unfounded.

And now, thanks to that police source, we learn that the police are concentrating on a mall that gets a lot of foot traffic, which certainly makes sense.

Could it be that mall security staff, whose records indicate that only one incident of grand larceny--theft of property of more than $250 in value--occurred during a year, according to the Blight Study, might be fudging the books?

They certainly seem to be cracking down on petit larceny, at least according to a much-blogged recent incident at Atlantic Terminal.

1 comment:

  1. Well, lying by omission. Target has its own security and the mall security probably hand off most matters to NYPD. So therefore... they just don't count many crimes.

    I can say as a frequent shopper at Target, I've seen at least two arrests while I've been there in the last year. And hat's just me.

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