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Howland addresses break-ins

Chick-fil-A traffic draws complaints from nearby businesses, residents

HOWLAND — With recent break-ins of unlocked vehicles and houses, Howland officials are urging residents to be extra cautious.

Police Chief Nick Roberts reported during the Howland trustee meeting that in recent weeks there has been break-ins of vehicles — many of which have been left unlocked — and also some homes.

Areas hit include Laurelwood Drive, Willow Drive and the Bolindale area.

He said there is security video of a person of interest connected to the break-ins.

”We have the person caught on video seen pulling on door handles at houses. It seems to be the same person at other locations. We think we have this person identified,” Roberts said.

Roberts urged residents to make sure their valuables are locked up or out of sight and not to leave vehicles unlocked.

“Don’t leave items in plain view inside your vehicles,” he said.

Roberts said residents who see anyone suspicious or has their vehicle or house broken into can call police.

Roberts issued a similar advisory in mid-October when vehicle and garage break-ins were occurring in the Forest Springs, Henn-Hyde, Bayhill and King Drive areas between midnight and 4 a.m.

In another matter, Roberts said police also have been addressing the backed up traffic situation that occurs at busy times of the day for people lined up to get food at Chick-fil-A off Niles Cortland Road SE.

Trustee Chairman Rick Clark said some days, traffic is so bad that people can’t get to their homes or other businesses nearby because the lines of vehicles extend onto Highland Terrace Boulevard.

“The amount of traffic some days has created a mess,” Clark said.

Roberts said he went to the location one day around noon when it is very busy to see the traffic situation for himself. Police and restaurant officials are working to redirect traffic.

“Around Christmas time, there was a lot of traffic congestion there. I spoke to some of the residents who live there beyond the Holiday Inn and to the owner and general manager of Chick-fil-A. They are all working together with Holiday Inn and other businesses nearby to see if there are other options of where they can put the overflow traffic waiting in line,” Roberts said.

He said the overflow traffic may be relocated in a different direction to not block the traffic coming and going.

“We have been aware of the situation and are working on a solution,” Roberts said.

Also, Roberts and fire Chief James Pantalone reported on their 2020 call volume was down some due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Pantalone said last year, they saw 3,700 calls, a decrease of 220 from 2019.

Roberts said the police department responded to 10,047 calls in 2020, which included 365 citations, 593 crashes, 47 overdoses and 377 arrests.

“This is a little less than last year’s calls, but COVID did pull some away from us,” he said.

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