Volume 80, Number 14 | September 2-8, 2010
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

Photo by Albert Amateau

Deputy Inspector Nancy Barry.

Under her watch, crime on L.E.S. continues to drop

By Albert Amateau

When Deputy Inspector Nancy Barry became commanding officer of the Seventh Precinct on the Lower East Side in May 2009, she was no stranger to the stationhouse on Pitt. St.

“It was my first assignment after I graduated from the Police Academy,” she said last week. Her July 1981 academy class was assigned to the Lower Manhattan Neighborhood Stabilization Unit. “We were based here and covered the Fifth and First Precincts, too. I was thrilled to come back here,” she added.

Of course, the changes in the precinct over the past 29 years have been enormous. Bars and lounges, along with high-end restaurants and boutiques, have become dominant in the diverse Lower East Side neighborhood.

But for Barry, now as well as then, the community’s relation to the precinct has been an outstanding experience as a police officer. The Seventh Precinct’s Aug. 2 National Night Out Against Crime on East Broadway had the biggest turnout in Manhattan, she recalled.

“I love working in the Seventh because of the people,” Barry said.

Crime in the precinct in the seven major categories is down 2 percent for this year from January to August, which is especially impressive, coming on the heels of the significant drop in the crime rate in 2009, Barry said.

“We’ve had a spike in burglaries with a couple of patterns in the past few months,” she said. “Commercial burglaries in June and July on the late tour after businesses hours, coming through skylights and windows — but we closed nine cases with arrests.

“We’ve also had a pattern of residential burglaries — mostly on Orchard St., and we’ve identified at least one suspect,” Barry said.

The number of nonfatal shootings — three this year, the same as last year — all resulted in arrests, Barry said.

Grand larcenies constitute the greatest number of crime complaints in the precinct, which extends south of Houston St., and east from Allen and Pike Sts. to South St. and the F.D.R. Drive.

The grand larcenies are “mostly unattended bags in bars and restaurants,” she noted.

Barry brings her varied Police Department experience to the precinct. After her first assignment as a rookie in Lower Manhattan, she was an officer in Midtown North, covering the West Side between 43rd and 59th Sts. She also served in Midtown South, which covers between 29th and 45th Sts., between Eighth and Lexington Aves., including Times Square; it’s the city’s busiest police precinct, with both the most radio-car calls and most criminal complaints. Barry next served in the 26th Precinct as a sergeant, covering Columbia University, Morningside Heights and Hamilton Heights.

Her next assignment, as a lieutenant, was executive officer (second in command) of the Police Cadet Corps, a program based in the Police Academy on E. 19th St. and open to students of colleges in New York City, Westchester and Nassau. In addition to following their college curriculum, the cadets work flexible hours during the school year and summer and receive wages for their work and tuition loans of up to $5,000 per year.

“It’s essentially an internship program,” Barry said. After graduating college, the cadets take the standard Police Academy admission exam, which serves as their promotion exam to become officers.

Barry next was put in charge of school security in the Bronx where she spent five years and rose to the rank of captain, an assignment that included commanding the Orchard Beach police unit in the summer between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Her next assignment was as captain of P.S.A. 9, the Housing Police covering all of Queens, where she spent two years before coming to her present command in the Seventh Precinct.

Barry is part of a family tradition in New York City public service. Her mother, who retired 10 years ago, was an N.Y.P.D. officer in charge of the Queens North Patrol Borough Command. Her father was a firefighter and retired as a battalion chief.

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