Staten Island isn’t the “forgotten borough” when it comes to crime.
The Big Apple’s most conservative and cop-friendly borough leads the city with a 14% surge in major crime this year compared to the same time last year, NYPD data show.
Burglaries on the island have soared 81% (47 from 26), robberies have spiked 93% (56 from 29), and felony assaults have climbed 29% (119 from 92), data through Feb. 19 reveal.
Major crime in the borough’s Mid-Island 122nd Precinct is up 54%, while the North Shore’s 120th Precinct reports a 34% increase, the statistics show.
In contrast, major crimes across the city show a 0.3% uptick: Major crimes in the Bronx are up 4%; Brooklyn down 2%; Manhattan up 0.4%. In Queens, major crimes have dipped 3%.
There has been just one murder on the Island this year, equaling the same number in 2022 at this point.
“Everything is isolated [out here] and businesses can be targeted,” said Pablo Junior, an employee at John’s Famous Deli on Innis Street, near Port Richmond High School. Junior added he feels safe because the 121 Precinct is nearby and “we have a good relationship with the police.” He also believes most of the robberies “involved smoke shops.”
The Staten Island District Attorney’s office confirmed there have been four confirmed “smokeshop” robberies in the borough this year.
“It’s very scary. We are open later and some smokeshops are selling different — unregulated items. That’s what the criminals are looking for,” said one North Shore smoke shop employee whose store was robbed last year. “The cops are doing their part. They catch them but they cannot hold them [due to the laws],” said the employee, who spoke on the condition he remain anonymous.
An attempted robbery at a Great Kills smoke shop last month was caught on a store surveillance camera. On the evening of Jan. 22, a masked man walked into Armstrong Convenience on Hylan Boulevard, near Armstrong Avenue, pulled a gun and demanded weed, the NYPD said. When the man behind the counter refused, the gunman fired multiple shots in the direction of the employee and a customer, cops said. No one was hurt and a suspect has been arrested, police said.
“Staten Islanders have grown accustomed to lower crime. A lot of law enforcers live in the borough, but the surge shows the residents are not immune to the effects of bail reform,” said Michael Alcazar, an adjunct criminal justice professor at John Jay College and retired NYPD detective. “The DA [Michael McMahon] is trying to get on top of the situation before it gets worse.”
McMahon earlier this month met with leaders of the business community to discuss the rise in violent robberies and how to deal with recidivism. The DA also held a press conference this week to “denounce violence” and “demand school safety” in the wake of shots fired on the grounds of PS 78 in Stapleton on Monday.
“Although Staten Island continues to be the safest community of 500,000 people in the entire nation, we share the concerns of our neighbors as well as our partners in the police department about the recent rise in neighborhood crime across the Island,” McMahon said.
The DA said “there is a direct link between the dumb laws disguised as ‘reform’ and the cavalcade of chaos we see in our once quiet neighborhoods.”
Said McMahon: “The lunatic legislators must be held accountable. Then we can hold car thieves, shoplifters, petty burglars and mindless robbers to account.”
The DA warned: “If the politicians who only listen to the loudest anarchistic agendas on social media won’t do it, we will continue on our own to do all we can to keep Staten Islanders safe.”
“While major crime is up in Staten Island, major crime arrests are up by 60%,” the NYPD said, including robbery arrests by 152%, (58 vs. 23), felony assault collars up 46% (120 vs. 82), grand larceny arrests up by 47% (56 vs. 38), and burglary collars up 467% (34 vs. 6).