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Fear of looting grips NYC as new storm threatens

Associated Press Modified: November 6, 2012 at 7:00 pm •  Published: November 6, 2012
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Kelly said police have arrested 123 people citywide since the storm blew in last week, 54 burglary arrests and 41 others stemming from gas line disputes. Police said the majority were in areas suffering from the storm.

"You would think, under the circumstances, you would see much more," Kelly said. "We haven't seen that."

Burglaries were up 6 percent citywide compared to the same period last year, but overall crime was down 27 percent, police said.

More than 1 million people remained without power on Tuesday, and forecasters said the nor'easter headed to the region on Wednesday could still bring 50 mph winds gusts to New York and New Jersey, an inch of rain and a storm surge of 3 feet.

"I know it's been a long, long eight days," Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.

The storm fallout didn't deter voters in the most battered areas, with heavy turnout in New York and New Jersey. Cuomo had given displaced New Yorkers the right to vote at any polling place in the state.

With the temperatures dropping into the 30s overnight, people in dark, unheated homes were urged to go to overnight shelters or daytime warming centers. Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he would ask — but not force — people to leave some low-lying shore areas hit by Sandy ahead of Wednesday's storm.

Later Tuesday evening, the mayor ordered three nursing homes and an adult care facility evacuated from the Rockaways because of fears the weather might knock out electricity already being provided by generators. About 620 residents were being moved.

Bloomberg said in a normal autumn, the storm wouldn't be a big deal and wouldn't warrant evacuations.

But "out of precaution and because of the changing physical circumstances, we are going to go to some small areas and ask those people to go to higher ground," the mayor said.

He was closing parks, playgrounds and beaches, and property owners were ordered to secure construction sites.

Willamae Cooper, 63, rode out Sandy in her apartment in the beachfront Dayton Towers complex in the Rockaways. By Tuesday, Cooper had seen enough. She decided to leave for her daughter's house on Staten Island, rather than have a front row seat to another storm.

"After that first one, God knows what could happen," she said.

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Associated Press Writers Eileen AJ Connelly and Jennifer Peltz in New York and Larry Neumeister and Frank Eltman on Long Island contributed to this report.