Contrary To Initial Reports, Looting Stats Skyrocketed In Communities Hit By Sandy

Reader Bruce Z., a victim of looters in Sandy’s wake, put this in front of his house to ward off would-be burglars.

Although Captain John Chell, head of the 61st Precinct, decided not to talk about crime trends at the latest community council meeting, the statistics tell the story for him.

In the Compstat report we published earlier today, accounting for the week of October 29 to November 4, the first full week after Hurricane Sandy swept through the neighborhood, the number of burglaries skyrocketed 366.7 percent over the same week in 2011, a jump from three burglaries to 14. In the week immediately preceding the flood, there were only two incidents.

That flies in the face of last week’s report that looting – which is reported as a burglary – was not as bad in the storm’s aftermath as residents believed. The initial reports indicated that, citywide, looting had seen an uptick of only three percent compared to the same week last year.

And even that number was off; the official statistics released this week show that in the first week after Hurricane Sandy hit, the number of burglaries increased 11 percent citywide – not three.

Still those numbers present the city’s statistics in aggregate. Once broken out by precinct, it’s clear – looting, though perhaps not rampant, was certainly a part of life for communities hard hit by Hurricane Sandy, and almost the entire 11 percent increase in burglaries citywide was driven by looters in Sandy’s hardest hit neighborhoods.

Aside from the 366.7 percent jump in Sheepshead Bay’s 61st Precinct, the following precincts affected by Sandy saw large increases in burglaries:

  • The 60th Precinct, patrolling Brighton Beach, Coney Island, Sea Gate and part of Gravesend, jumped 112.5 percent, from 8 burglaries last year to 17 this year.
  • The 100th Precinct, patrolling the Rockaways, Breezy Point, Belle Harbor and Broad Channel in Queens, saw a 700 percent jump, from two to 16.
  • The 122nd Precinct, patrolling half of Staten Island, saw an increase of 350 percent, from two burglaries in the same week last year to nine in 2012.
  • The 123rd Precinct, patrolling the southern half of Staten Island, increased 700 percent, from one to eight burglaries.
  • Interestingly, the 76th Precinct, patrolling Red Hook, reported zero burglaries, down from one the year before.
  • Similarly, the First Precinct, patrolling Manhattan’s southern tip, also saw a 50 percent drop, from four last year to two this year.