It was solely a matter of time earlier than a customer was murdered in Times Square. That sufferer was Maria Ambrocio, a 58-year-old New Jersey most cancers nurse who got here to Gotham Friday to lunch with a good friend. Afterward, she and her good friend had been strolling by the center of New York when an alleged mugger, 26-year-old Jermaine Foster, working on foot after having simply robbed one girl in her condominium and one other girl on the road, slammed into Ambrocio at excessive pace, knocking her unconscious; she died on Saturday.
Ambrocio’s loss of life was a predictable and preventable murder.
Times Square has been a large number for months. Last week, an illegally armed man unintentionally shot himself whereas publicly urinating. The similar day, a lady with an extended document of comparable violent, unprovoked assaults towards different girls shoved a stranger, one other girl, into the facet of a practice, trying (however failing) to kill her.
In June, 4 muggers attacked yet one more girl, stealing her cellphone. The similar month, a 16-year-old boy allegedly shot a Marine, whom he didn’t know, within the again. In May, an unlawful vendor with a violent historical past shot and wounded two girls and a woman. Last November, a homeless man stabbed one other man to loss of life close by.
I live simply north of Times Square, and I keep away from it. Friday afternoon, simply an hour earlier than Foster’s lethal crime spree, I went out of my method to keep away from the realm. Yes, I do know that the probabilities of anybody individual being a sufferer of a violent crime are low. But the probabilities that somebody will block my means and try and “sell” me a CD (learn: attempt to scare me into giving him cash); or that I’ll should quicken my tempo to keep away from a deranged individual screaming; or that I’ll see somebody capturing up medication; or that somebody will make a crude remark — these are extra seemingly than not, on any given journey.
Going to Times Square isn’t value it.
Statistics additionally present that the danger of turning into a severe crime sufferer is way greater than it was two years in the past. Crime within the Midtown South precinct has soared up to now two years. Robberies have tripled since 2019; assaults have greater than doubled. Just like on the subways, crime has risen as foot visitors stays low. Daily walkers by Times Square quantity about 218,829 — 42 % decrease than in September 2019. Everyone transferring by Times Square right now, then, is at larger per-capita danger of violent damage.
Mayor Bill de Blasio can’t resolve whether or not it is a disaster. On one hand, he deems enterprise leaders “unproductive” for caring about random shootings, stabbings, and assaults. On the opposite hand, he has deployed extra police to the realm. The police have helped some: the NYPD, together with the federal authorities, arrested eight males in August for working an open-air crack market. But this takedown took months of labor and consumed scarce federal assets.
When it involves low-level nuisances, the police don’t do a lot. Why would they, when anybody arrested for a low-level crime is shortly again out on the road? Less than a month in the past, police arrested Foster for sexually assaulting and stalking a lady simply south of Times Square; he was launched with out bail.
Did the governor, mayor and Legislature suppose that he was going to bide his time peacefully in Times Square after that incident?
Last week, Queens State Senator Jessica Ramos mentioned, apropos of the newest subway pusher, that arrests are “not working.” Wrong: What’s not working is letting folks out of jail and jail, no less than with out strict mental-health-treatment and dependancy plans. To make an arrest that sticks, police should wait till “small” crime escalates and somebody is severely injured. This technique requires plenty of good luck; good luck wasn’t out there for Ambrocio final week.
After months of escalating warnings, New York City and State public officers may have prevented Maria Ambrocio’s killing. Until they begin taking concrete steps to reclaim public areas, residents and guests will defend themselves by staying away from locations like Times Square — simply as I now do.