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Braddock neighbors concerned about shrinking police force as vandals target parked cars

BRADDOCK, Pa. — A string of car break-ins in Braddock has some neighbors on edge. They claim the police don’t have the manpower to patrol the area around the clock.

The force just got even smaller. Borough Manager Lou Ransom Jr. said another officer resigned Tuesday - the same night the community met to talk about joining forces with the Eastern Regional Mon Valley Police Department.

>> Braddock considering merging with new Eastern Regional Mon Valley Police Department

With a shrinking police force and a rash of car break-ins in an apartment building’s parking lot,  some neighbors fear their cars will be targeted next.

Shattered glass sits in the building’s parking lot on Braddock Avenue more than a day after neighbors said two teens tried breaking into a car.

“I seen that the simple fact that somebody was throwing a brick at the window,” said Von, who asked not to use his last name. “They shattered the back windshield and then as soon as the lights and stuff came on the car, they took off.”

Von said he saw the kids lurking around the parking lot around 1 a.m. Tuesday looking to target Kias and Hyundais because of a flawed design making them easy to steal.

“I think it was what they call ‘Kia Boys,’” Von said.

Some community members brought the issue up during a packed borough meeting Tuesday night. They’re worried about the police department’s lack of officers and coverage at certain times of the day.

“We have had car break-ins consistently, over 10, and there’s no police at night,” said Takia Mitchell of Braddock.

Braddock has no police chief, and as of Tuesday, there are only two officers in the entire force. Both are part-time.

Neighbors have also complained about the delayed response times saying it can take officers up to four hours.

Elliot Goodman believes hiring security guards to stand watch outside his apartment building could keep would-be criminals away.

“I just moved in a couple weeks ago and I’m really worried about my car being broken into because apparently, it’s been a constant string for like a month or two,” Goodman said.

Borough Manager Lou Ransom Jr. told Channel 11, police are working on getting surveillance video to investigate the crimes. He also said he’s trying to get state police to help respond to calls, but said they’re stretched thin too.

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