Latest Advice To Avoid NYC Crime: "Dress Down"

AP Photo/Richard Drew

Everything old really is new again. When I was 20-years old back in 1994, I went to visit my dad and step-mom in the northern New Jersey suburbs of New York City. Of course I wanted to go in to the big city while I was so close, but my step-mother insisted that before I leave the house I swap out my leather bomber jacket with an older cloth coat that belonged to my step-brother. “You’ll be mugged if you wear that,” was her blunt assessment, and so I wandered through a pre-gentrified Times Square and lower Manhattan sporting a blue corduroy jacket with a “Kiss Army” patch sewn on to the arm.

Here we are almost 30 years later, and wiser and more experienced adults are once again informing the younger generation that dressing for success isn’t nearly as important as dressing to avoid being the victim of a violent assault.

At Bank of America, senior executives have quietly encouraged younger employees to “dress down” to attract less attention as they make their way to B of A’s tower at 1 Bryant Park.

These execs have told their staffers that dressing up, or wearing anything with a Bank of America logo, could make them a target. One bank employee told On The Money he is on high alert after he spotted someone with a knife near the office during a recent trek to the Manhattan workplace.

Of course, it’s not just Bank of America where worries over crime pervade. The city reported a 15 percent increase in felony assaults over the past 28 days, as of Nov. 28, when compared to the same period a year ago, according to NYPD statistics. (Murder rates have surged 42 percent over the past two years, but remained largely flat over the past year.)

One top executive at a large money management firm even recently began carrying a Taser as he commutes to his Midtown office, a person with direct knowledge of the matter told On The Money.

A Taser? Doesn’t this executive know that’s illegal in New York City? Plus, depending on just how high up the corporate ladder this exec is he could probably get a rare concealed carry permit instead of toting a Taser to work with him.

The sad reality is that these executives could ditch the Brooks Brothers suits and put on stained trousers and a dirty shirt, but that still won’t ward off those with evil intentions, severe mental illness, or an addiction that needs to be fed.

A young family is recovering after being randomly slashed near Battery Park. Police say the suspect was out on parole. The youngest victim was in a stroller.

City officials told CBS2’s Ali Bauman on Thursday there is a pattern with these recent random assaults and hate crimes. Many of the suspects are homeless, mentally ill or recently incarcerated. Experts say the revolving door between prison and the shelter system is getting worse and finding solutions would make all of us safer.

Surveillance video shows a Hasidic couple walking near Battery Park with their 1-year-old on Wednesday evening when a man attacks from behind, slashing all three.

Police arrested 30-year-old Darryl Jones. He has 12 priors and was just released on parole in February after serving time for attempted murder.

“Dressing down” may be practical advice, but it’s no substitute for being armed for self-protection and the protection of those you love. Unfortunately, in New York City the vast majority of residents can’t legally do so because their government doesn’t recognize their right to carry a firearm (or even keep one in their home). That will hopefully change when the Supreme Court issues its ruling in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen next year, but for the moment simply carrying a gun without a license remains a “violent felony” offense under New York law. Clearly that’s not having an impact on those with violent criminal intent.. and my guess is that it’s probably also not enough to dissuade some otherwise law-abiding folks from carrying a firearm underneath their outerwear, no matter how dressed up or down they might be.