Ehrbar says police presence higher after burglaries

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Williston Park Mayor Paul Ehrbar said he speaks with local police officers everyday. (Photo by Tom McCarthy)

Williston Park Mayor Paul Ehrbar said at a village board meeting Monday that police coverage has increased since a string of burglaries occurred during Memorial Day weekend.

“There is more police presence in the village and there is more than you would realize,” Ehrbar said.

In his crime report for July, Trustee Michael Uttaro said there were 39 aid cases, four auto accidents with one injury, one burglary in Mineola, three incidents of criminal mischief, five moving violations, eight parking violations and four larceny incidents.

Bob Mitchell, president of the Williston Park Civic Association, said during the public comment period, “ The report that there were only five moving violations is again disturbing.” Mitchell, a retired police officer, said a lot more summonses were issued for traffic infractions years ago.

“We should have more opportunity to stop and investigate whoever is out on the street,” Mitchell said. He said traffic stops are also opportunities to investigate potential suspects.

“In light of the problems we’ve had earlier this year, we should have more opportunity to stop and investigate whoever is out on the street,” Mitchell said.

He said the board should communicate with Third Precinct police officers more often.

“I do on a regular basis. I talk to the street cops on a regular basis. There are more cars going through the village,” Ehrbar said. The mayor said he has asked police cars to go down side streets rather than Hillside Avenue and Willis Avenue on the way to the precinct.

Ehrbar also said he had requested increased police presence in the wake of the four burglaries that occurred over Memorial Day weekend. The consecutive burglaries sparked a weekend meeting in June which droves of Williston Park residents attended. At the June meeting, Ehrbar said, “The point of this meeting is to have everyone calm down.”

At Monday’s public meeting, Ehrbar said a suspect in the Memorial Day weekend burglaries had not been caught.

“They’re still working that case and hopefully they will eventually find the individual responsible,” the mayor said.

“I feel your pain. I think we all agree that’d be nice to see more enforcement,” Uttaro said.

During a civic association meeting in July, Mitchell and attendees discussed car break-ins videos and photos shared on the association’s Facebook page and the Memorial Day weekend burglaries. Uttaro said at the meeting that residents should not be afraid to call 911 to report criminal or suspicious behavior.

Statistics for break-ins and robberies in the area were not immediately available from the Third Precinct for July, but Detective Vincent Garcia said, “Larcenies from autos are an ongoing problem countywide. In almost every case, car doors were left unlocked. This makes it very easy for criminals.”

He continued, “ As part of the county’s war on opioids, our Intel unit has determined that there was a direct correlation between the number of drug overdoses in a community and larceny from auto reports. ” Garcia said addicts will try to open car doors and sell off what they can to get money for drugs.

Doreen Ehrbar, who runs the community’s neighborhood watch program, said during the meeting that the program needs more block captains.

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