Park your car at your own risk.
The ongoing occurrences of vehicle theft is taking place in Pelham Gardens, leaving many of its residents scared in what they feel is a “primarily safe neighborhood.”
According to reports, the cases of petty larceny and occasional grand larceny auto have been happening since late August on at least a weekly basis. When residents walk to their car they find their vehicles wheel-less and propped up on concrete blocks.
These thefts, which include stolen rims, tires and money , as well as broken windshields, has residents scared and on high alert.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the whole situation, or the worst of it.
According to residents, NYPD officers from the 49th Precinct are downplaying these thefts and encouraging victims to minimize their losses.
“The way the NYPD is handling this situation is both concerning and disturbing,” said Pelham Gardens resident John Johnson, who has lived in the neighborhood for almost 20 years.
“What kind of society do we live in where people are asked to turn the other cheek when their valuable belongings have been stolen from them?
“After seeing this take place over and over for an extended period of time, I would think that there’s some kind of management issue amongst the NYPD, at least at the 49th.”
The 49th Precinct hasn’t exactly stood still, as they have made many good arrests in response to these thefts.
According to the precinct, many of these thieves leave jail soon being apprehended and go right back to work.
There are entire crews dedicated to stealing parts from one particular type of vehicle, the 49th added.
“I’m sure it’s very frustrating to walk outside and see one’s own vehicle after it was robbed,” said Detective Victor DiPierro of the 49th Precinct Community Affairs office. “However, at our precinct meetings we specifically encourage neighborhood residents to not keep any valuables inside the car and to purchase wheel locks, which are very hard to break, to prevent these instances.”
DiPierro went on to state that most of the vehicles involved in tire theft did not have wheel locks.
Despite this, residents claim that the 49th Precinct has delayed following up on these thefts, if they choose to follow up at all.
Reportedly, calls have been placed to the 49th while car thefts were in progress, but the slow response allowed the thieves to get away with the goods.
Residents believe that the precinct has been focusing primarily on the low-income housing units, such as the Pelham Parkway Houses, which has likely contributed to this situation getting so out of hand.
“We have to draw the line,” said Johnson. “Neighbors’ valuables are being stolen, their safety is being jeopardized and they are being asked by the top law enforcement to forget about it. What’s next?”
According to Pelham Gardens resident Alvaro Torres, this is an re-occurring problem that always takes place at the end of the summer, and that the car thieves show no mercy.
“It doesn’t matter if the rims are locked or not, they are still taken,” claims Torres, who had his rims stolen in October. “Pelham Gardens is being hit often, so managing this situation should be a top priority for law enforcement.”
Torres also explained the frustrating process of following up on the burglary, when similar instances have proved to be quite common in the neighborhood.
“A lot of rims and tires have been stolen, so I can’t go to court yet. Once the NYPD builds a case on the person or the people involved, then I will go to court.”