At about 2:30 p.m., a white male, about 5'7” and 35 years old, unsuccessfully attempted to rob a Cross County Federal Savings bank at 79-21 Metropolitan Avenue by passing a note to the teller, according to police.
Fifteen minutes later, a white or Hispanic man described as 5'3” and in his 40s entered a Capital One bank at 74-11 Metropolitan Avenue, passed a note to a teller demanding money, and fled in an unknown direction with an undisclosed amount of money.
As of press time, police said a connection between the two robberies was not established, citing differing descriptions of the suspects.
The robberies occurred despite numbers released by police that show, statistically, overall crime was down in the city in 2011.
According to Officer Thomas Bell of the 104th Precinct Community Affairs office, while responding to the scene, a police officer struck a 50-year-old man on Metropolitan Avenue at 78th Street when he ran into the street from between two parked cars. He was taken to Elmhurst Hospital for internal bleeding.
Glendale resident Michelle Cook Lopez, who's lived in the area since she was three, said she saw reports of the robberies on Twitter shortly after they occurred.
When asked about some Glendale residents' recent concerns, Lopez said she agrees that there appears to be a crime spike, but added that she thinks it's happening throughout the city.
Lopez owns Cook's Arts and Crafts Shoppe at 80-09 Myrtle Avenue, and said she's heard reports from fellow small business owners that petty thefts are occurring more often and stores are seeing an increase in homeless people asking for money.
“Somebody walked out and they saw somebody in their car taking change,” she said. “It's a lot of petty stuff that no one's going to waste their time calling the Police Department on.”
Lopez said a possible problem could be a lack of police presence on the streets. She recalled when her grandmother owned a store at the Shoppe's location, when Lopez was a little girl, she often saw police patrolling the area on foot.
But Lopez said she hasn't seen a police officer walk by her store in years.
“There's not enough police officers to deal with all the different crimes,” Lopez said, explaining that officers will respond to serious crimes before petty thefts.
She added that part of the problem is the city making it harder for businesses to stay open for 24 hours, so there are less places for victims to reach out to for help at night.
Lopez expressed gratitude to the 104th Precinct Civilian Observation Patrol, led by fellow resident Frank Kotnik, Jr., but said they are also understaffed.
In a recent interview, however, Kotnik said he doesn't see a crime spike in Glendale.
“We live in the City of New York,” he said, “It's much safer here than any other place in the U.S.”
Kotnik noted that according to police, crime is down in the city overall.
“Crimes happen everywhere unfortunately,” he said, and added that “one crime is too much, but we can't be out there crying wolf.”
The 104th Civilian Observation Patrol is looking for new members. For more information, visit G-cop.org.