Guardian Angels to patrol UES amid increased homeless ‘warehousing’October 13, 2020
The Guardian Angels will begin patrolling the Upper East Side amid safety concerns stemming from the “warehousing” of the homeless in the area.
Angels founder Curtis Sliwa told The Post that a dozen members of the volunteer crime watch squad will hit the streets in what has historically been one of the Big Apple’s wealthiest neighborhoods — a necessity he said was once “unimaginable.”
“The problems are moving from the West Side to the East Side,” Sliwa said Tuesday. “The cops are being reactive, not proactive.”
He said the request to call in the Guardian Angels came from Louis Puliafito, an Upper East Side doorman who is running for state Assembly on the Republican line — and a fixture in the neighborhood.
“Doorman Lou was the point man on this,” Sliwa said. “You want to know about crime and what’s happening on the streets? Talk to the doorman.”
Major crimes in the 19th Precinct covering the Upper East Side were up 36 percent for the 28-day period ending Oct. 4 compared to the same period last year. The command has averaged a 0.5 percent uptick in major crimes for the year.
New Yorkers in upper Manhattan have complained for months about the housing of the homeless in area hotels, with residents reporting an increase in drug use and harassment from the large number of vagrants who have taken over once-well-to-do streets.
Upper West Side residents in particular have griped to City Hall about open drug use on the streets, homeless encampments, and increased harassment of residents by vagrants — a quality-of-life issue Sliwa said has been creeping eastward.
He said one particularly concerning site is the Bentley Hotel at 62nd Street and York Avenue, one of the locations where the city has sheltered homeless people to stanch the spread of the coronavirus in city shelters.
“I spoke to people at civic associations,” said Puliafito, who is challenging incumbent Democrat Rebecca Seawright in the 76th Assembly District. “They don’t feel safe anymore. People are worried about daytime crime.”
In an email, Sliwa said the crew of Angels will be led by a local resident who “has been training and patrolling with us in the UWS since early August,” and will now lead the Upper East Side crew.
Officials at City Hall and the Bentley Hotel did not immediately return calls seeking comment.
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