Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

Police make prostitution arrests, investigate stabbing

Police make prostitution arrests, investigate stabbing

Crime in downtown Peekskill and the proliferation of “smoke shops” openly selling marijuana illegally present challenges that need to be addressed as the city moves forward with a “downtown revitalization” and plans to build hundreds of new residential units.

On the evening of Wednesday, June 5 into the morning of June 6, the City of Peekskill Police Department, along with several other agencies, conducted a joint operation dealing with prostitution and other quality of life issues. 

Six arrests were made for prostitution as well as one arrest for fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, according to Peekskill Police Chief Leo Dylewski.

Police Chief Leo Dylewski.

City Manager Matt Alexander, speaking at the Common Council meeting of June 10, said police and other city departments will continue to stay focused on criminal activity that harms Peekskill residents and the city’s perception in the public.

“This is becoming an item that has affected the quality of life downtown and is being addressed,” Alexander said.

Smoke shops continue to open in Peekskill and many of them are suspected of selling marijuana in violation of New York state’s new marijuana regulations. Enforcement at the state level hasn’t been widely implemented. Three shops in Peekskill were cited earlier this year with little deterrent effect. 

Stabbing at 901 Main St.

Five days after the busts in the downtown for prostitution and illegal drug sales, two men fighting at a late-night restaurant in the downtown resulted in one of them hospitalized and police searching for the other.

On Monday, June 10 at about 3:35 a.m., officers responded to reports of an altercation on the 900 block of Main Street. Officers discovered a male who had sustained injuries, who was then transported by EMS to Westchester Medical Center, according to Chief Dylewski.  

This incident is being actively investigated by the Peekskill Police Department detective bureau. Anyone with information is asked to contact the PPD detective bureau at (914) 737-8000.

The fight happened outside, at a street-level storefront in the Peekskill Plaza building. Peekskill Plaza’s residential apartments have been the site of hundreds of criminal complaints by residents, calling police for trespassers in the buildings selling and using drugs, harassing tenants, carrying out prostitution activities and terrorizing residents.

After numerous complaints, residents of the building spoke publicly at a Common Council meeting and their pleas for help were reported in the Herald.

The building owner has since instituted new security measures to address some of the problems and city officials continue to press for more improvements to security and living conditions.

This latest stabbing incident will now draw more attention to the troubled property as it occurred in a retail tenant of the building.

Some people had reported the incident occurred outside Tiffany’s, but in a social media post, the restaurant indicated the incident took place farther down the street. “There was no fight in our establishment, nor was there an incident that started in our establishment,” they wrote.

Addressing city wide concerns over safety issues

Peekskill’s thriving restaurant scene continues to draw people to the city and the Paramount Theater is attracting bigger and bigger audiences with sold out performances.

But the ongoing perception of safety, particularly late at night, needs to be considered. Too many bad experiences can cast Peekskill in a negative light and jeopardize its attraction for diners and visitors. Of particular concern are bars and restaurants that cater to single men who drink to excess and wind up in fights late at night.

John Sharp, who first came to Peekskill 20 years ago and opened the Birdsall House, now operates several restaurants in the city including Gleason’s downtown.

Sharp told the council members at the June 10 meeting that a long standing problem of late-night drinking at bars and restaurants is hurting the perception of downtown and also getting people hurt.

John Sharp, owner of Birdsall House, speaking at the Common Council meeting on June 10.

“We keep having business that are acting irresponsibly late at night serving irresponsible individuals,” Sharp said. “It causes a problem for us as small business owners because it puts a vibe out to people coming to Peekskill, and even worse it’s literally doing damage physically to people.”

Sharp asked the council members to consider making 2 a.m. the cutoff for serving alcohol. “This is a bar owner and club owner standing in front of you asking you to do this,” he said, “but all of these problems are happening between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. effecting the quality of life for everyone.”

About the Contributor
Jim Roberts
Jim Roberts has been in this business for more than 35 years (hard to believe) and still learning every day. A third-generation Peekskill resident, he started as a lowly researcher at the Westchester Business Journal in 1986 and learned how to be a reporter from many veterans in the field. He’s worked in private companies, Connecticut state government and wrote for the Co-op City Times for 10 years before retiring from full-time work in 2019. Roberts wants to contribute to building the Herald into a news website for residents who care about what’s happening in Peekskill.