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Cops from the 61st Precinct may be keeping close tabs on beach-goers but they’re failing to adequately protect the community at large, some in Manhattan Beach are charging.
“There’s no police force in our community,” Manhattan Beach Neighborhood Association member Al Smaldone complained at Monday night’s MBNA meeting at P.S. 195. “You’re protecting the people from themselves on the beach - we’re left out here by ourselves without any protection.”
The shocking criticism came after Sergeant Mike Doyle of the 61st Precinct wrapped up his regular crime report for the month of July, which amounted to one burglary on Pembroke Street, a “fishy” auto theft involving three teens on MacKenzie Street, and a handful of automobile break-ins inside the Kingsborough Community College parking lot where motorists left behind personal items in plain view.
MBNA President Alan Ditchek bemoaned an alleged lack of “peripheral patrols” that reach down Manhattan Beach’s sleepy side streets on hot summer days when critics insist as many as 25,000 visitors flock to the neighborhood.
Over the July 4th holiday, the MBNA president said that cops weren’t giving out parking tickets even though Oriental Boulevard was choked with cars trying to access the parking lot and there was “disregard for traffic laws.”
“That’s great for beach-goers, but what about the rest of the community?” Ditchek demanded.
Fellow MBNA member Edmond Dweck charged some visitors to the beach with heinous behavior.
“I’ve seen them defecate on lawns and harassing kids on bicycles,” Dweck said.
Doyle disputed the existence of gridlock on July 4th and said that cops issued well over 50 summonses that day - including some issued on Shore Boulevard.
“That’s not ignoring the Beach,” he said.
Charles Glover of the mayor’s Community Assistance Unit assured Manhattan Beach residents that more traffic agents could easily be assigned to the community - if the volume of quality-of-life complaints registered to 311 were high enough.
“It’s not a problem at all,” Glover said.
But Ditchek insisted that some infractions like driving the wrong way on a one-way street is an enforcement issue for police.
Former Manhattan Beach Community Group President Ronald Biondo called for more police officers than the five currently assigned to patrol the beach.
“Maybe five police officers weren’t enough,” Biondo said.
Others renewed criticism about the flashing red light at Oriental Boulevard and Ocean Avenue.
Smaldone jeered the pedestrian-operated device which some members of the community are unable to use on certain days due to religious reasons, and even threatened to capture the sorry scene on video and post it on Youtube.
“My taxes keep going up and we seem to be getting less and less,” Smaldone said.
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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