What to Know
- The NYPD says thefts at Duane Reade stores on the Upper West Side are surging, and nearly all those arrested don't live in the neighborhood
- Police say the crimes are taking up their time and resources, and want Duane Reade to be a better neighbor
- Parent company Walgreens says it volunteers weekly updates to the NYPD about security officers, and welcomes input from police
Six Duane Reade stores on the Upper West Side are a hot spot for crime, according to police, who are joining neighbors in asking the drugstore company to step up and be a better neighbor.
NYPD Captain Timothy Malin, commanding officer of the 20th Precinct, says crime stats show Duane Reade is a big target for criminals, and it's eating up the department's time and resources.
"They steal cosmetics, lipsticks, shampoo, gum," said Malin. "It runs the gamut."
"This is a very safe area of the city but there is still crime," he said.
So far in 2018, there have been 180 reported larcenies at Duane Reade stores on the Upper West Side. That's up 35 percent from last year, and those thefts account for 42 percent of all reported larceny cases in the 20th Precinct. The store at 72nd and Broadway is targeted more than any others in the precinct, according to police.
"What we'd like to see happen is to stop the crime in the first place," said Malin.
Upper West Side resident Chris Giordano says he and his neighbors have contacted Walgreens, the parent company of Duane Reade, to demand armed security guards in the stores.
"We don't want theft in our neighborhood," said Giordano, noting that such security exists at other Duane Reade stores in other parts of the city. "We don't want it to spread to other areas of the neighborhood, not just Duane Reade. It's just not cool."
"I'd like security in the stores," added Barbara Reid.
A Walgreens spokesperson said in a statement to News 4, "We recently began providing voluntary weekly updates to the NYPD about where we are concentrating our uniformed or plainclothed security officers and welcome input from police on how we can best deploy resources."
Police say they're waiting to see those resources to make the neighborhood safer.
"We want to partner with Duane Reade. We want to work with them," said Malin. If we had uniformed security guards, it’s not just a deterrent, it’s somebody we can share wanted posters with, it’s someone who can call 911 when there’s a problem. It would help us a lot."