As New York City deals with the pandemic, police are dealing with an increase in crime. The Guardian Angels, a nonprofit group made of concerned citizens, is hoping to help officers patrol an upscale area and help ease concerns for some who live there.
Wearing red and white, the group of volunteers walked up and down the streets in the Upper East Side on Tuesday after meeting up on 86th and Lexington. They say a surge in crime led them to the neighborhood.
"We hope to have a unit out here almost every night," said organizer Curtis Sliwa.
So far this year, police say burglaries are up by more than 91% compared to the same time last year. Robberies are up almost 40%, according to NYPD statistics.
"I’ve always felt very comfortable walking home from dinners at night. I’m a woman, for the last 15 years I’ve always felt comfortable and now I wouldn’t do it," said Kim Shapiro who lives in the area.
NBC New York witnessed the group of volunteers running towards some sort of commotion on Tuesday night involving someone yelling in the middle of the street, and officers were flagged down.
"That's one of the things we have to deal with on the Upper East Side," Sliwa said.
There's a hotel in the area that have been housing unhoused individuals due to public health concerns amid the pandemic, and some neighbors believe it's a source of crime.
NBC New York has reached out to the city for a comment but has not received a response.