Petition seeks to curb crime in Cliffwood Beach

Source: Change.orgSource: Change.org

CLIFFWOOD BEACH, Aberdeen — A petition demanding surveillance cameras and police foot patrols along the seawall and waterfront has been posted to Change.org.

The petition was posted a more than a week after William H. Karecki, of the Cliffwood Beach in Old Bridge, was shot and killed in a Veteran’s Park lot on Ocean Boulevard.

Click here to see the petition.

Indeed, that murder is on the minds of several petitioners.

“William Karecki was my dear friend,” wrote Sonia Reynoso. “If the cameras we’re installed we could’ve had answers to his brutal murder!”

Aberdeen Township Police Chief John T. Powers said he understood residents’ concerns, particularly given the recent murder of an Old Bridge man in a Veteran’s Park lot. But he said police regularly patrol the area and disputed the petitioners’ claim that crime is on the rise.

As of 10 a.m. Thursday, 288 people have signed the petition. The request is accompanied by allegations that crime along the seawall, drug dealing in particular, is on the rise, they say.

As of Thursday, Powers said that statistics for this year showed that 20 summonses had been issued along the beachfront for various park violations, such as alcohol possession and being in the park after dark.

Police also investigated 10 incidences of suspicious persons or vehicles, two instances of garbage dumping, one noise complaint, one instance of criminal mischief, and two fires on the beachfront, he said. About 15 parking tickets had also been written, he said.

Police have made just one arrest this year for drug possession in that area, he said.

Powers said the town is working to have new cameras installed on the waterfront. He said he also welcomed the opportunity to work with residents to form a Neighborhood Watch, and urged residents to contact police if they see anything suspicious.

“The more eyes and ears you have out there, the better,” he said.

Cameras installed before Hurricane Sandy smashed into the Bayshore were helping curb alleged rise in crime back in 2011, according to the petitioners. But those cameras were destroyed by the storm.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story said that Chief Powers was not immediately available for comment. He later spoke with a reporter, and the story was updated Sept. 28 to include his comments.