Car break-ins are many, reports are few
By Adam McCauley
Cars parked in the angled spots along Independence Avenue have become frequent targets of vandalism and a rash of break-ins this month has some residents demanding that police do more.
Pebble-sized shards of broken glass can be found trapped between the street and curb and an anonymous note about the break-ins is affixed with brown translucent packing tape to the metal traffic pole at the intersection of West 239th Street.
The public letter is addressed to nearby residents and closes with a warning: “We have to look out for each other, because it is evident that the 50th Precinct isn’t going to.”
Community Board 8 members and residents told police at the June 21 50th Precinct public safety meeting that many of the break-ins occurred in the early morning hours between West 239th and West 246th streets, with criminals smashing car windows and removing valuables before fleeing the scene.
“The first time it happened to us it was a little shocking,” said Joanne Kipust, whose vehicle was broken into on June 7 while parked across from the Riverdale Temple on Independence Avenue. “What was more shocking was that it happened to that car and that car and that car.” Seven vehicles were involved.
But when Ms. Kipust contacted the police, she said she was told she wouldn’t be allowed to file a police report because nothing had been stolen from the vehicle.
“I’m not faulting the police for not doing anything,” she said. “But I wish it wasn’t possible for someone to smash the window of seven cars and not be noticed.”
Despite the recurrence of similar break-ins in the area, the 50th Precinct has only received one official police report of stolen property from Independence Avenue this month.
“I think the main reason that residents are not reporting crimes is due to apathy,” said Captain Kevin Burke, the commanding officer at the 50th Precinct. “There seems to be a sense that there is nothing that can be done about it, which is not the case.”