NYPD warns Soho residents, visitors to watch valuables

It’s a sign of the crimes.

The NYPD has placed a large, flashing sign in the heart of Soho warning drivers to “Beware of vehicle break-ins” and not to leave valuables in their cars.

The electronic warning stands at the corner of Prince Street and West Broadway, in an area once considered one of the chicest in the Big Apple — but which has lately been a playground for thieves. In the latest heist, bandits last month lifted $52,000 worth of shoes, bags and clothing from the Givenchy store on Greene Street.

“It’s sad – I have noticed so much has changed here in recent years. It’s sad to see the birth of all of the graffiti and crime,” said Simon Mulligan, 50, a concert pianist from New Jersey visiting a friend in Soho this week.

NYPD officers
NYPD officers keep watch in Soho where thefts are prompting a warning to drivers.
Helayne Seidman

The sign, he continued, sends the message: “This is a dodgy neighborhood, stay out.”

Eva Besselmann, a 43-year-old landscape designer from Brazil and frequent visitor to New York City, said she was “shocked.”

“I didn’t know it was happening here, I thought everything was fine,” Besselmann said. “Seeing this here, I thought ‘Wow, that doesn’t really belong here.’ I’m surprised, I would say, because it shouldn’t be like that, no? There are so many tourists and I think it’s like a really expensive neighborhood.”

Simon Mulligan
Musician Simon Mulligan said the NYPD warning sign about theft signaled that Soho was “a dodgy neighborhood.”
Helayne Seidman

Eva Besselmann
Tourist Eva Besselmann from Brazil says she was shocked to see a sign warning of theft in Soho.
Helayne Seidman

But Zoran Cmkovic, 54, an artist who sells his paintings at the corner of Prince Street and West Broadway, said crime had become commonplace and that his artwork has been swiped when he’s briefly stepped away.  His van was also broken into in Soho about three months ago.

“I would see groups of young guys running with stuff from stores. It’s kind of obvious that [theft] is happening here,” Cmkovic said. “You can see some dodgy characters around here. You see quite a lot of characters that are screaming, yelling and punching in the air.”

There have been 17 vehicle larcenies in Soho through Feb. 26 up from 16 during the same period in 2022, according to the NYPD which said most happened near where the sign was placed.