Burglary Victim, and Satisfied Customer of the NYPD

Earlier today, The Local published its weekly police blotter. Now one recent crime victim tells her story.

apt11 Clarissa Wei is fingerprinted by the police
so that they can eliminate her prints from evidence.

Maybe I watch one too many crime dramas, but I really didn’t expect the NYPD to care as much as they did when my roommate and I were robbed.

Someone had broken into our humble East Village apartment in broad daylight, swiped a DSLR camera, an iPad, a good chunk of cash and a handful of sentimental jewelry. Not the brightest of burglars (none of the necklaces were worth over $20), but the incident did initially leave us in hysteria.

I was the first one home and the place was in complete disarray. Drawers opened, bags on the couch, toiletries on the bed.

“I’ve been robbed,” I screamed when my boyfriend finally picked up the phone.

He laughed, presumably thinking I was referring to a shopping deal.

“No, seriously – I’ve been robbed.” I cried on the phone while he tried to calm me down. “What do I do, what do I do,” I yelled, frantically running around to see what else I was missing: my headphones, my nail polish, my money. My heart sank when I saw my jewelry box gone. I had spent years collecting earrings from my travels around the globe.

“Do I call the cops?” I asked him.

“No, what can they even do?” he said.

As I came to learn, a lot more than you would think. 


Two officers from the Ninth Precinct came within five minutes. My roommate followed soon after, bursting with tears.

Another police officer arrived, and then another. A forensics guy, two NYPD employees and then finally the detective – dressed appropriately in a black trench coat.  At one point there were seven people from the department in our two-room apartment. For two whole hours following my 911 call, there was an officer with us at all times.

“I feel like I’m in an episode of ‘Law and Order,’” my roommate remarked with sarcasm.

She and I have had our fair share of disillusionment with the system. We’re both journalists and after a good couple of years of reading and writing news, we had no expectations. If the police department was in the news, it was almost always something negative. And in our minds, it had better things to do than to send seven officers to a minor robbery scene.

Yet fingerprints were carefully collected, photos taken, neighbors were interviewed and every last bit of information that could have been gathered was written down.

A week later, I received a phone call from the detective. He sent me a picture message of a necklace in case it belonged to us. (It didn’t.)

The next day, an e-mail from the NYPD informed us they were sending someone over to conduct a security survey and help us take preventative measures against future crimes. Up until now, I wasn’t even aware the police department had this sort of service.

Realistically speaking, our property will probably never be retrieved. My roommate’s camera is probably in the depths of a pawnshop and the Eiffel tower earrings I spent hours searching for in Paris – forever lost. But at least we feel safe knowing that the emergency response by the police department is so exhaustive.

Call me overly optimistic, but I actually have faith in the system now. The police don’t pull out all the stops just for the big crime scenes. They don’t just care about the stories that make the news. The reality is that they’re just as thorough with all crimes, petty as they may be.

But that just doesn’t make for good television, now, does it?

Have your been a victim of crime in the East Village? Tell us what happened.