Burglars target Sandy victims in the Rockaways
Where many saw tragedy for New Yorkers still homeless from Superstorm Sandy over the Thanksgiving holiday, others apparently saw opportunity.
Adding to the woes of those who live on the Rockaway Peninsula in Queens — where the storm killed eight people and destroyed more than 100 homes — thieves burglarized at least three residences in a Breezy Point neighborhood last week, police confirmed Saturday.
Many of those who survived Sandy have been staying with friends, family or at relief shelters during the week and returning to the Rockaways on weekends to pick up what remains of their lives. When families returned after the holiday, some found even less than what was there before.
“I think it’s just awful,” Breezy Point resident Mary Kelley told WCBS Newsradio 880 on Saturday. “I think it’s absolutely terrible at this time when we’re most vulnerable, they have to do something like this to us.”
New York Police Department crime statistics for the Rockaways show burglaries have skyrocketed in Sandy’s wake. In a single week, Nov. 5-11, the area averaged two burglaries a day; last year there was a total of one for that same week.
Though the recovery has been slow in communities hit hardest by Sandy, much of the region was starting to return to normal. In separate announcements over the holiday weekend, the governors of New York and New Jersey highlighted how far the region had come, and how far it had to go.
Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, announced Saturday that PATH transit service from New Jersey to Lower Manhattan’s World Trade Center line will reopen Monday morning. The service was halted after millions of gallons of water flooded the line in the storm surge.
New York City, meanwhile, lifted its gasoline rationing measures Saturday. The city imposed the rationing, much like New Jersey did, after storm damage cut off fuel transportation channels, leading to widespread shortages.
Christie estimated his state absorbed $29.4 billion in damage from the storm. Combined with the $33 billion Cuomo projected New York would want from the federal government for storm recovery, Sandy’s damage would exceed $60 billion, higher than initial estimates and easily the second-costliest natural disaster in the U.S., behind Hurricane Katrina.