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Patrols increased to combat vehicle thefts on Grand Island

Sat, Feb 17th 2024 06:55 am

Staff reports

Grand Island has ramped up police patrols in response to a rise in car thefts over previous years, according to a letter Supervisor Peter Marston posted on the town’s official website Feb. 8.

In Marston’s letter, he said that, on Feb. 7, he had an extensive conversation with Erie County Sheriff John Garcia about the recent influx in vehicle thefts.

“Since Jan. 1, 2024, Grand Island has experienced six stolen vehicles throughout the town,” Marston said. On Wednesday, he revealed that, of the six car thefts, “every single one was unlocked with keys inside.”

In response to the rise in crime, he said in his letter that “last week the Grand Island Police Department began increased patrols as well as a search for additional officers in order to expand patrols with additional shifts.”

Marston said that Grand Island is unique in having three police agencies that answer calls for service. These include county sheriffs, state troopers and the GIPD.

“All these agencies communicate and work together to ensure safety and serve our community,” Marston said in his online letter. “In my discussion with Sheriff Garcia, he and I are committed to increasing our patrol presence on Grand Island.

“On behalf of the GIPD and Sheriff Garcia I am asking for your extra vigilance and attention to removing fobs and keys from vehicles and please lock your vehicles. This action will be the No. 1 deterrent to mitigate these crimes.”

Marston said, “If you see any suspicious activity, please do not hesitate to call 911 or the non-emergency dispatch number 716-858-2903 immediately. If you see something, say something!

“Please help us, help our community.”

The full text of the supervisor’s letter can be found at:


Marston said Wednesday that the town has made some shifts in police coverage, including town police doing some overnights. He said adjustments include changes to the scope of patrols, as well as going places they didn’t go before in coverage. Also, he said, “other entities are involved” in the effort to beef up patrols.

Marston wouldn’t reveal specifics of the plan – “You don’t give bad people your playbook” – but he said Island residents can be assured “that we have substantially ramped up” police presence.

Longtime Island resident Lindsey Cruz said she has gathered 560 petition signatures calling for “immediate action to address the escalating security issues on Grand Island.”

Cruz said she sent a letter to Marston, asking him to arrange a meeting with her so she could share her ideas “on how we can effectively protect our island with the community’s help.”

She posted the text of her letter to Marston on the Facebook page for the group Grand Island Crime Reporting and Prevention.

Cruz’s letter said, “Thefts and criminal incidents on the island have reached alarming levels, causing distress among residents who have long cherished the safety and security of our community.”

Marston said the increase in patrols was “due to the fact of what we’re seeing,” not in response to Cruz’s petition.

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