Don’t be fooled by its Disney World ambiance: Purse snatchings, pickpocketing, and shoplifting all happen more frequently in Times Square than in surrounding neighborhoods.
Times Square is still the same dicey place it used to be, a Forever 21 security guard warned Metro yesterday.
“You still get pieces of that gritty, dirty element,” the guard said.
Crimes like shoplifting are up nearly 40 percent over last year in the Midtown North Precinct. Grand larceny incidents, such as purse snatchings, are also on the rise. Unlike Times Square precincts, no nearby area recorded more than 20 weekly crimes in both major and minor thefts.
Thieving is indeed alive and well at “The Crossroads of the World,” agreed those who work in the area daily. At Sephora, security guard David Aquino said NYPD officers now make weekly stops to check for shoplifters. A recent audit at Foot Locker showed missing merchandise, an employee told Metro. Crime is so bad the 41st Street Starbucks hired someone to patrol the cafe.
At 47th Street Digital Cameras and Computers, owner George Klwi said junkies peel off trinkets. “They take a pile of t-shirts and run away,” he said.
And everywhere, people are losing bags. Times Square cops said purse snatchers are a staple, and tourists are most at risk. Often, shoppers lose track of bags, which are then stolen.
Thieves using new tricks
They “come up with something different every day,” a Forever 21 security guard said of shoplifters. Thieves learn guards’ shifts before coming in with aluminum-lined “booster bags” to elude sensors. Usually, groups of teens work together, leaving one person with an empty bag for cops to search. At Sephora, adults steal perfume testers, like a 30-year-old man caught stuffing cologne in his jacket last week, said store employees.