The ball is still being dropped in Times Square.
Mayor de Blasio on Tuesday yet again promised a crackdown on shady activity in Times Square — including a renewed focus on illegal street vendors who are being eyed in at least two tourist shootings in as many months.
But sources and fed-up New Yorkers contend that the city agency now tasked with removing the pesky peddlers has so far done squat.
“There’s going to be a huge amount of police presence plus civilian presence from Consumer Affairs and other agencies,” Hizzoner told reporters at his daily press conference. “We’re not going to tolerate illegal vending. That’s the bottom line. So, something like that will in fact be removed.”
In January, enforcement of street vendors was taken out of the NYPD’s hands — and given to the city’s Consumer and Worker Protection agency to oversee.
But sources griped that the switch has only led to more problems — and crime — in places like Times Square, saying enforcement isn’t actually being done.
“We disbanded our peddler units,” one police source told The Post. “Now you have mayhem in the streets and turf wars.
“This is no different from drug dealers fighting for corners in the ’80s and ’90s,” he added.
Said another cop, “The peddlers are rampant all over the city, Times Square, 125th Street, Canal Street, and no one is monitoring them. Is this what politicians really wanted?”
Another source cautioned that the perception that all of the vendors are just out there trying to make a buck “is a huge misconception.”
“These street vendors, while on the surface are committing what seem like low-level infractions, are carrying guns,” the source said. “They’re committing crimes while committing the most serious of underlying crimes — which is carrying a gun.”
Last month, a 4-year-old girl shopping for toys and two others were shot and wounded by stray slugs on Broadway and West 44th Street during what police described at the time as a dispute between illegal CD peddlers.
Cops are also investigating whether Sunday’s shooting that wounded 21-year-old Marine tourist Samuel Poulin is tied to the outlaw vendors.
De Blasio previously promised a beefed-up police presence to “add an extra measure of protection” in the Crossroads of the World on the heels of the May shooting.
But some New Yorkers are wondering when the city will start dealing with the scourge of aggressive street vendors, including those who hawk CDs.
“Nobody around here likes them,” said James Williams, a street cleaner with the Times Square Alliance. “They’re scammers.”
“They intimidate mostly foreigners and white guys,” said Williams, 72. “They will surround them and force the CD on them and tell them, ‘You gotta pay, you gotta pay.’ They get nervous and pay. Oh, yes. I definitely want them gone.”
Another local said the vendors “should get locked up.”
“You got all these guys coming down with that gangster s–t,” he said. “I don’t like some of their methods. They be going in people’s wallets. The police know that.”
He added, “You’ve got people from all over the world in this area. You have to keep this area safe.”
In a statement Tuesday, the city Department of Consumer and Worker Protection said the agency takes an “education-first” approach to identify problems.
“DCWP has been enforcing vending regulations and we will continue working with NYPD to address vending issues, particularly in areas like Times Square,” the statement said.
Metro | New York Post
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