New York – Some businesses and property owners on Manhattan’s 8th Avenue between 35th and 38th Streets say they’re fed up with what they see as a drug and homeless problem.
Barbara Blair of the nonprofit Garment District Alliance says some days the group’s hygiene team finds dozens of needles.
She and the business owners say the problem puts retail customers and employees at risk and means reduced profits.
“If you have six rough-looking men hanging out in front of your store all day, they’re going to fight and spill into your store… no one wants to go there anymore.” Hmm.”
The Garment District Alliance is currently working with area property owners who have flocked to hire private security guards.
But in this case, private security means armed and uniformed off-duty NYPD officers.
“In a city like this with a great police force, it’s a shame that landlords have to pay for private police,” said Steve Kaufman, president of the Kauffman Organization, a real estate firm.
The Kauffman Organization is one of three real estate companies paying a total of about $8,000 a week for personal information.
“We felt this was the best thing for our business,” says Kaufman.
Matthew Mandell, Consent Manager at GFP Real Estate, agrees, saying, “People felt unsafe in their neighborhood.”
He said their retailer “sends pictures of people doing drugs in front of the building… [and] Photo of homeless people sleeping in front of the door. ”
The property owner’s collection tells FOX 5 News that the hired pair will walk these three blocks on 8th Avenue Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. .
However, the FOX 5 News crew didn’t see the pair in action during their two afternoon visits to the neighborhood.
A man named James, who is homeless, said the police and private security guards “seem to be totally committed to begging and not harming anyone.”
He says the guards and officers would tell him, “Don’t beg… don’t stand on the block.”
“I said, ‘This is the land of the free — what do you mean I can’t stand on this block?’
That’s when he says they’re trying to move him. But James says, “I have nowhere to go.”
“If you’re homeless, you kind of disappear and die.”
Halfway through the interview with James, the Fox 5 crew realized they were standing in front of the business they were standing in front of (a 7/11 store not a tenant of the business that employs security guards). rice field.
Kaufman said he understands the views of some homeless people, and believes that both the city’s Department of Homeland Service and the New York Police Department are “making an effort.”
But business owners believe the city can do more.
“I think people are choosing streets over shelter,” says Matthew Mandel.
It’s been two months since we hired an off-duty employee, and the business owner says it’s working.
“It seems to be working pretty well,” says Kaufman.
“I think it makes a difference if you feel like someone is watching something, even if it’s just standing in a police uniform,” Mandel added.
Fox 5 attempted to ask NYPD officials about the issue at Wednesday’s press conference, but was told there were no off-topic questions.
In a statement, mayor Eric Adams’ spokesman Fabian Levy said public safety was the mayor’s “top priority”, but the reduction in crime “will not happen overnight. No,” he says.
He added that off-duty cops have helped New Yorkers for the past 25 years by supplementing “the good work of the cops who patrol the streets every day.”