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Vandalism Spree Strikes GC Business District

Board Considers Adding Security Cameras

Security cameras could be coming to a street near you in the Village of Garden City. After several incidents of vandalism in the business district, Trustee Dennis Donnelly advocated his support for installing additional security cameras around the village.

At a recent board meeting, Donnelly reported that Franklin Avenue merchants Garden City Pizza had one window broken and Bagelman had planters that were damaged during a vandalism spree over Memorial Day weekend. Seventh Street village storefront Things and Stuff also lost a planter and the Pear Tree Shoppe had a window broken.

While many residents suspect local youth may be responsible, Donnelly implored that the board consider footing the bill for surveillance cameras. “We have to stop this nonsense,” Donnelly stated. “As most of you know, I am a big proponent of security cameras, but I think we owe it to the business district to have some monitors on the street because in the case of Garden City Pizza, this is his second window in a very short period of time,” he stated.

Donnelly went on to say that the board must take the necessary action to keep Garden City merchants safe. “We don’t want to have roll-down gates in Garden City in our stores and whatever we have to do we will do to make sure that doesn’t happen,” Donnelly said, adding “We ought to get moving on this item…I know it’s not going to be real cheap but I think we owe it to the people who live here.”

John Wilton, chairman of Garden City Merchants, Professionals & Retailers Group, also agreed with Donnelly. “I am delighted that the commissioner and Trustee Donnelly are addressing the frustration of the unfortunate incidents of vandalism on Seventh Street. It did spread to the other tenants who were not vandalized but were querying about what are we going to do. So I will go back to them that it has been sensitively addressed and there is pro-active activity,” Wilton stated.

Greg Bavaro, owner of Garden City Pizza, told Garden City Life this is the third time a brick has been thrown through the window and that security cameras and increased police presence could be a possible solution to the problem. “A weekend doesn’t go by where you come in and the planters outside are dumped over and there’s beer cans all over the place,” Bavaro explained. “There’s a pretty strong need for surveillance to be put in. I think that’s probably a very good deterrent,” he said. “This is stuff that shouldn’t go on in a nice quaint neighborhood like this,” he said. “There’s definitely a problem and it definitely needs to be addressed,” Bavaro said.

Dean Adams, a co-owner of Things and Stuff, said one of his planters worth about $250 was taken over the holiday weekend. “I am guessing it’s kids; they are just hanging around,” he said. Adams said that if the vandals knew they were being identified on camera, they may stop and think before they do something like this again. “I have a feeling that would definitely make a difference,” he said.

Barvaro said that the merchants being affected are not just some whining business owners complaining about a cost of doing business. “We are the people that constantly, generously, give to all of the local charities, civic associations, sports teams, etc. as well as pay our high rents and taxes to be in one of Long Island’s premier villages,” he said.  

According to Village Auditor Jim Olivo, the village currently has approximately 20 cameras that are currently in use to guard village assets, but would not reveal their locations. Police Commissioner Cipullo announced that Garden City Police Lieutenant Doyle is in the process of estimating the costs for installing additional security cameras. “It’s not as simple as it sounds and we have to determine what locations you want to cover. We are working on it,” Cipullo stated.

Inspector Jackson of the Garden City Police Department told Garden City Life that, as of press time, no arrests have been made regarding the incidents. “We have increased patrols and we are actively investigating these matters,” he said.