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Residents in some neighborhoods are likely to see more police cruisers as Scarsdale and nearby police departments step up patrols in response to a regionwide increase in the number of car thefts and burglaries.
Scarsdale Chief of Police Andrew Matturro shared recent car theft statistics and prevention tips at the village board meeting May 9, citing data from Westchester Strategic Crime Center, which documented 324 auto thefts countywide during the first quarter of 2023, with the majority of thefts taking place in southern Westchester.
Scarsdale has recorded eight car thefts so far this year, compared to 13 by the same time last year, Matturro said.
Beyond Scarsdale, police departments all along the I-95 corridor, the Merritt and Hutchinson parkways have responded to reports of stolen vehicles. Greenwich has had 24 to date, one of which Scarsdale police tracked on Murray Hill Road at 5:45 a.m. Monday, May 8, Matturro said.
“Officers attempted to stop the vehicle, which fled at a high rate of speed on Heathcote Road before officers lost sight of the [car].”
In March, Scarsdale police arrested a man who was in the process of stealing a Mercedes-Benz on Depot Place, the chief said, adding that the suspect was arraigned and subsequently remanded to Westchester County jail where he remains in custody.
Matturro noted a regional uptick of incidents in which criminals enter garages and houses to swipe keys and then steal residents’ cars. “We have experienced three such incidents since January,” he said. “Two had entered garages and one entered a foyer to retrieve keys.”
The town of Mamaroneck has also seen an increase in car thefts and burglaries, including three burglaries this past Saturday, May 6.
In the areas being affected by property crimes and break-ins, police departments have been sending officers around in police cars and unmarked patrol cars and “have stopped several attempted thefts,” Matturro said.
“Recently, officers have been proactive in identifying vehicles with altered license plates. Several vehicles have fled the village once they observe our officers. Unfortunately, these vehicles flee at dangerously high rates of speed, entering the parkway to leave the area,” he said.
To address the regional crime uptick, Scarsdale police have been working with neighboring jurisdictions to coordinate patrols. “We will also be modifying shifts to provide additional patrols,” the chief of police said.
Police recently met with the Scarsdale Neighborhood Association Presidents to share crime prevention tips and to encourage residents to contact police immediately when they observe any suspicious behavior.
Scarsdale Mayor Justin Arest also urged residents to be “vigilant.”
“Our [police department] is doing everything it can and we are fortunate to have them protecting us. We live in a very safe community, but can’t take that for granted.” He emphasized it’s important to lock car and house doors, bring keys inside, set alarms and, when possible, install and use exterior camera systems.
The Scarsdale Police Department recommends the following:
1. Lock your car doors and remove your keys and key fobs from inside the car.
2. Secure your garage door opener in a locked glovebox, as thieves may use it to enter your house to retrieve your car key or steal other valuables.
3. Never leave valuables inside the vehicle, especially if visible.
1. Keep all exterior doors at your residence locked using deadbolt locks, and keep your garage door closed and locked, including your interior access door, and lock all widows, including those on the second floor.
2. Always turn your alarm system on when you are away. It is also recommended to have your alarm system in the “stay” or “home” mode when you are home, especially while you are sleeping.
3. Use motion sensing exterior lighting; keep perimeter of the house well lit.
4. Never leave house key under doormats or in outside hiding places.
5. Make the house appear occupied, leave lights or television on timers when out for the evening.
6. Consider a video surveillance system to protect the property.
7. If the house will be vacant for an extended prior, consider signing up for the police department’s free Dark House Program by calling 914-722-1200. Officers will make periodic checks of the house, depending on call volume and availability, until the homeowner returns.
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