Residents asked to keep a watchful eye.
Story by Jeff Lipton.
Long Beach police have returned to their regular patrols in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and urged residents to continue to be on the lookout for any suspicious activity.
The state police had been teaming up
with Long Beach officers, who were working 12-hour tours, to make sure things did not get out of hand in the weeks after the superstorm. A curfew has since been lifted, the state troopers pulled out of the city on Dec. 8 and patrol officers have returned to their 10-hour tours, according to Lt. Eric Cregeen, a Long Beach Police Department spokesman.
“The coverage with the troopers worked out pretty good,” Cregeen said. “We were omnipresent out there. There were police everywhere. The large police presence coupled with the curfew kept a lid on everything.
“Now we’re back to our normal policing,” he added. “The officers have gone back to their normal hours.”
Even though some estimate that the city has more than half its residences and businesses still empty
, Cregeen does not see policing the city as a major challenge.
“All our officers on patrol are aware of the conditions on their post,” said Cregeen, who was promoted from sergeant to lieutenant on Dec. 19. “We’re fortunate that the police officers in this department stay on top of things, whether it’s a speeding condition or a vacant house or a vacant store. Everything is staying the course.”
Cregeen added, however, that the public is still one of the keys to helping keep the crime rate low during this crisis.
“We’re putting out the word to people to remain on high alert,” he said. “If anything looks out of the ordinary, they should tell us and we’ll be out there right away.”
Cregeen said he has not seen a marked increase in the number of burglaries, larcenies or vandalism in the last two months since Sandy. “There have not been any crimes of that nature that an empty store or empty house would lend itself to,” he said. “Our residents have to help us keep a sharp eye out for this type of activity.”
Long Beach police are working with the city’s Department of Public Works to keep everyone away from the demolition and removal of the boardwalk, which began on Saturday.
“There are a lot of souvenir-seekers out there and we don’t want anyone getting hurt,” Cregeen said.
In addition, police have been actively clearing the roadway of abandoned cars, he said. He said the owners of the vehicles have been given enough time to remove the vehicles.
“At this stage of the game, if there are any abandoned cars, we’re taking them [off the road].”
Cregeen said police were waiving towing and impound fees so that the owners don’t get socked twice – losing a car and having to pay a fee on top of that.
Cregeen said he has noticed the city beginning to get back to normal.
“There has been a lot of activity,” he said. “I see a steady brigade of contractors going to jobs in the city.
“Right now you wouldn’t even know that we had a storm,” he added. “All our roads are as clear as possible.”
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