MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — One of the wealthiest and safest counties in America is being targeted by thugs and thieves.
Residents in Nassau County are living in fear with word that home invasions and burglaries have spiked more than 100 percent, reported CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan.
Ed Overton of Uniondale said he and his family have been on edge since learning of the spike in Nassau home invasions.
“I’m a taxpayer and I pay a very dear amount to live in Nassau County, and I expect protection for my family,” Overton said.
WCBS 880 Reporter Mike Xirinachs was in Nassau County.
During the first six weeks of 2012, Nassau police confirm that residents endured a staggering surge in home invasions and home burglaries, up a whopping 111 percent. When you figure in businesses, burglaries soared 69 percent.
Many of these victims have been sharing their harrowing ordeals with CBS 2’s McLogan, saying things like:
“I see this dark male figure. I get really scared, run back upstairs and hide in my closet.”
“Dressed in black from head to toe.”
“I screamed at him, ‘get outta my house!’”
“He could have stabbed me. He could have killed me.”
The uptick in home invasions has been felt most acutely in Plainview, Jericho, Great Neck, Levittown, Bethpage, East Meadow and Baldwin.
It came as no surprise that the disturbing trend became a political point of Monday’s rally to keep all eight Nassau police precincts open.
“Five of the six areas where we’ve been having a lot of burglaries are in precincts where they are proposed closing down,” PBA President James Carver said.
“This is not a good idea, at all. Go back to the drawing board. There is not enough information and slow this all down.”
“With the economy and everything else, people get desperate, and desperate people do desperate things,” homeowner Jim Haley told WCBS 880′s Mike Xirinachs. “You need enforcement, so I’m not for closing precincts, that’s for sure.”
Police unions and Democratic legislators are fighting the Republican plan to realign four precincts to save the struggling county millions of dollars.
“We take home burglaries very seriously and this is exactly why my plan reassigns 48 police officers from behind desks to assist the public in their neighborhoods,” County Executive Ed Mangano said.
Mangano added that violent crime is way down. Murder and manslaughter is down 57 percent, while rape is down 46 percent.
Some blame the home burglary crime wave on desperate, addicted “junkies,” while others cited the high pawn value of gold and jewels, and even the mild weather, saying last year’s cold may have kept burglars inside.
“I feel like it’s a violation. Maybe closing the precincts isn’t the answer. Maybe we need more police,” said homeowner John Latrell of Bay Shore.
Next Monday is decision day on downscaling Nassau County’s four police precincts. If it goes along party line, realignment would win 10 votes to 9.
What do you think about the proposal to close the precincts? Would you be willing to pay more in taxes to keep them open?