Sandy victims on Staten Island are fed up with the thieves and criminals coming to their battered neighborhoods and stealing from homes still under construction. So they've come up with a system to single out strangers. Marc Santia reports. (Published Monday, Jun 3, 2013)
Homeowners in some Staten Island neighborhoods facing a rise in theft as they recover from Sandy are using stickers to help separate residents from the hundreds of visitors who continue to travel through the storm-ravaged streets.
The color-coded stickers are placed on residents' cars.
"People's appliances, copper piping are being stolen," said Mike Fay. "And we're concerned about cars that don't belong around here. If we have the sticker, we belong."
"It's a good thing, I think, when they're patrolling or whatever, they will see the sticker and know we belong here," said Patty McKay, who also lives in Midland Beach.
The sticker campaign was started this week by Beacon of Hope New York, a local group formed after the storm. To get the stickers, residents must show their vehicle registration.
Dee McGrath, the group's president, said the stickers will help identify homeowners, especially important as so many have relocated since the storm.
"We don't know anymore who lives here and who doesn't," said McGrath.
"This will identify the vehicle. And at least whether it's us or the police or community patrol we can at least ask the person what they're doing here," she added.
She says the sticker campaign, which she started this week, is another layer of protection in areas that have been targeted by squatters and thieves.
While they don't guarantee security, McGrath said they provide comfort -- something she'd like to bring to other tri-state neighborhoods still rebuilding.
"They're excited to have the stickers," she said. "They're excited now they at least know some of the cars belong in that neighborhood."