The tourists don’t seem to care all that much… let’s face it when you go to NYC‘s Times Square you’re expecting – maybe even hoping — to see a little something crazy.
But on the other hand, Times Square today is nothing like it was back in the ’80s, it’s a far safer place and the city envisions it as a family friendly place.
A recent uptick in crime coinciding with this wave of nearly nude buskers has prompted the NYPD to put out a memo for volunteers to serve in Manhattan South’s “newly formed Times Square unit.”
According to an internal message obtained Wednesday by The Daily News, the memo makes clear they’re not looking for rookie cops. “Prospective members of the unit are required to have at least three years of experience and an “exemplary” work record.”
The message also states that officers “will be expected to address crime and quality-of-life issues related to the city’s number one tourist destination.”
According to the Chief of Department, right now 47 cops patrol the area but the goal is to more than double that to 100 officers by October. It’s not just the costumed and topless panhandlers that the cops are dealing with. There’s also the CD sellers and unlicensed vendors. “I think to have a steady cadre of police officers in there would put people at ease, not just people from New York, but people from out of state also,” the C.O.D said.
This new development came as City Hall began taking aim at the aggressive costumed characters and topless ladies who “prey on tourists in the Crossroads of the World,” according to the NY Daily News.
“Having a seasoned and consistent unit to thoughtfully address quality of life issues in Times Square is a great development,” said the Times Sq. Alliance president.
The News recently reported that the costumed hustlers were now hassling people in other tourist-rich parts of the city. The Brooklyn Borough President said, “As has been the case in Times Square, where this behavior originated, a number of these characters have conducted themselves in an aggressive manner that runs directly counter to the family-friendly atmosphere we are working to maintain in ‘America’s Playground.”
Melissa, one of the breast-baring performers in Times Sq. said there are already too many cops around.
“Honestly, yesterday I felt like there were more cops than tourists here,” said the 24-year-old Manhattan woman. “We couldn’t even sit down to eat. They were recording every step we take.”