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Scarsdale Leaders Address Greenacres Concerns

SCARSDALE, N.Y. – Crime and taxes dominated the discussion Thursday night when the Greenacres Neighborhood Association held its annual gathering with Scarsdale village leaders.

About three dozen residents gathered at Greenacres Elementary School to hear officials from Village Hall, the Scarsdale School District and the police and fire departments make brief presentations followed by a question-and-answer session.

Scarsdale Police Department Capt. Andrew Matturo, filling in for Chief John Brogan, addressed one of the neighborhood's prime concerns - a rash of burglaries earlier this winter on the east side, abutting White Plains.

"There were 18 burglaries village-wide in 2011, and seven were in Greenacres, east of Post Road," he said. Matturo said the adjoining area in White Plains had also seen a rash of burglaries and the department has taken steps to protect residents, including increased patrols.

"We've formed partnerships with residents so we have more eyes and ears in the area," he said. The department also has urged citizens to call the police if they see anything suspicious, regardless of how small.

Matturo said two arrests were made in January in White Plains, and the last burglary in Greenacres was Jan. 12. He said the two suspects are facing a slew of serious charges from around the region and could be facing life sentences. The captain raised some eyebrows when he said the department responded to 2,800 alarms last year – all false alarms. The homes that were burglarized, he said, had alarms that were either turned off or not armed or were not armed properly.

He also urged residents to make their homes look occupied when they are away, pointing out that most thieves will bypass an occupied house because penalties for breaking into an occupied home are much greater.

Matturo also cautioned residents about a trend in ID theft that has hit close to home – ATM skimming. Thieves install a device on the card swipe device that people must use to enter a bank lobby after hours, he said. The device reads all the personal information on the card. Then the thieves install a tiny camera where they can watch people punch in their PIN numbers.

"Don't use your ATM card to get into the lobby," he said. "Any card with a magnetic stripe will work," he said. "Then cover the keypad when you enter your PIN."

Some residents questioned Village Manager Alfred Gatta about property revaluation, expressing concern that it could cause some people's taxes to go up.

"The reval will take about 18 months," Gatta said, and residents can expect about a third of the village's homeowners to pay more, a third to pay less and a third to stay the same.

Among the other officials on hand were Fire Chief Thomas Cain, Schools Superintendent Michael McGill, Board of Education President Jill Spieler, Mayor Miriam Levitt-Flisser, Greenacres Principal Gerry Young and Parks and Recreation head Suzanne Busby.

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