CHINATOWN, Manhattan (PIX11) — Concerns about crime in Chinatown are causing some businesses in the neighborhood to lose customers, business owners told PIX11 News.
Chinatown has seen reduced foot traffic amid a spike in crime, according to business owners, which has caused some shops, bars and restaurants in the area to struggle to stay open.
While NYPD crime statistics show that instances of murder and rape are down in the 5th Precinct, which includes Chinatown, robberies are up 135% from the same time last year, and carjackings have doubled in the same timespan.
“As my bar patrons are leaving, I’m afraid for them because they are walking out and I don’t know if there is danger outside. These carjackings have been taking place with a gun,” said Teddy Mui, the owner of Winnie’s Bar in Chinatown.
Mui said the recent spike in crime is deterring business, and his livelihood is at stake. “I’m also afraid for the workers and myself. I have to go home to two kids,” Mui said. “It is a job at which point you are risking your life?”
Some Chinatown business owners have reduced their store hours due to safety concerns, but they say the reduced hours are not sustainable.
Business owners in the neighborhood are now looking to lawmakers in Albany for help. They are calling on the state legislature to increase days in discovery law for district attorneys specifically investigating hate crimes because charges are often dropped for criminals if evidence isn’t shared within 30 days.
Gov. Kathy Hochul acknowledged that some changes need to be made.
“We have this inconsistency in the law. Confusion is understandable, and I want to make sure that we remove that one standard, give them criteria to look at,” Hochul said. “And I want to make sure that our judges have what they need. So, removing the least restrictive means standard for bail eligible cases, which are the serious violent offenses, is what we’re going to be looking for.”
Chinatown business owners say their livelihood remains in the hands of state lawmakers.