With a local park the subject of repeated vandalism and parked cars a frequent target for break-ins, some Barclay Heights residents are demanding more patrols from the police.
Amy Sullivan believes the village gets more coverage than her neighborhood. She used to operate a home daycare, and says the signs advertising her business were stolen from her front lawn weekly. She says her yard has been frequently littered with trash and beer cans. She feels that this type of disrespectful and destructive behavior would be reduced if the police presence were increased. She cites Halloween as an example, when the police “were all over here and not a stitch of vandalism.” As of now, she says she sees the police patrolling the area less than four times a month. Sullivan says it seems “like our neighborhoods don’t require presence but the village does.”
Stephanie Bover, another Barclay Heights resident, has also witnessed vandalism in the neighborhood, particularly at Jaycee Field on Hemlock St., where she takes her two-year-old to play. Recently she saw vulgar drawings and words scrawled on the playground.
She feels incidents such as this would be reduced if there were a greater police presence. “If kids saw there were police around often I don’t feel that they would be vandalizing property as much,” said Bover. “They know there aren’t police around so they are going to do whatever they please.”
Bover says she sees the police “maybe once every few weeks.” She feels let down by this, as “the whole point of living in a development like this is to let your kids safely play outside.”
Saugerties Police Chief Joseph Sinagra says that just because residents of Barclay Heights don’t see the police it doesn’t mean they aren’t patrolling the area. He notes that the department has five unmarked cars that it regularly uses on patrols. In those cases, not seeing them is “the whole point.”
Sinagra says neighborhoods are not patrolled at set times. “We don’t want criminals to be able to set their clocks by when we will be in an area,” he says.
In addition, Barclay Heights has an officer assigned to it, said the chief.
Sinagra stresses that the geographic area the department covers is large, and he says, “We count on residents to be our eyes and ears.”
In the case of the recent vandalism Bover mentioned at Jaycee Field, which was since cleaned up, residents did bring the incident to local officials. Sinagra is aware of the teens involved and says that the school resource officer—the police officer who works in the school district—is working with them.