Shoplifting on the Rise in Midtown North

Petit larceny is up around some of the city’s major tourist sites

| 02 Dec 2021 | 01:03

Shoplifting is on the rise in the Midtown North precinct, an area of the Upper West Side which includes many of the city’s largest tourist sites.

According to NYPD CompStat, petit larceny, or theft of items worth less than $1000, is up 36.3% compared to 2020 in the neighborhood, which includes Rockefeller Plaza and the Theater District. Grand larceny, defined as theft of items worth more than $1000 as well as some special items such as credit cards, is up 13.9%.

Shoplifting of luxury items is a particular issue. “[People take] high-end clothes, shoes too,” said a merchandise associate at the Columbus Circle TJ Maxx who gave his name as Torres. When asked about the frequency of shoplifting at his store, he replied, “Every day ... I just know it’s a lot.”

However, cheaper items also are frequently stolen, as reflected in the petit larceny data. “People steal things you wouldn’t even think of, like gloves,” said Moroti, an ambassador for Nordstrom Men’s. “Little things.” The recent closure of the Rite Aid at 70th and Columbus, according to some reports, may have been related to the rise in shoplifting. Rite Aid representatives could not be reached for comment.

In some ways, the rise in shoplifting in the Midtown North precinct mirrors a larger trend that can be observed in other areas across the five boroughs. Citywide, petit larceny is up 4.5% compared to 2020.

However, the trend is not consistent across every neighborhood and statistical category; for instance, in the Upper West Side’s 20th Precinct, which includes Lincoln Center, petit larceny is actually down this year.

Furthermore, it’s important to note that shoplifting, like many other types of crime, has sharply declined in the neighborhood over the long run. From 2001 to 2020, petit larceny in the Midtown North precinct dropped 67.9%.