Neighbors on Boardman Street find their cars damaged

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Boardman Street is a small row of about 30 homes on either side, right off of Monroe Avenue. Wednesday, the people who live on that road spent the morning cleaning up broken glass from 14 vandalized cars.

Neighbors said this is the second time in recent memory that the street experienced mass window smashings. The first time was back in June. Some folks on the street were cleaning up their cars for the second time in the past year.

Walter Watkins lives on the street, and works overnight. When he got back from work early Wednesday morning, he saw folks outside dealing with their damaged cars.

“I saw the window smashed out, so I assumed right away […] the other stuff that I saw — or heard about on the news — from the Cobbs Hill neighborhood,” Watkins said “And now I’m like ‘Shoot, it’s really – it happened in our neighborhood.’”

Watkins said he knows the pain his neighbors are going through all too well; he’d had his own car stolen last year on Boardman Street.

“It’s just crazy how somebody can wreck somebody like that just for nothing, you didn’t even steal anything you didn’t even take anything,” he said. “Nothing. Just to be, a jerk […] You oughta be ashamed of yourself. That’s terrible that you’re causing all this pain and hassle. For what?! For nothing! That’s just awful, and you oughta be ashamed of yourself.”

Although stolen car numbers are down, with windows getting smashed several cars at a time, folks in the neighborhood said it feels like their cars aren’t safe anywhere in the city.

At a press conference Wednesday afternoon, mayor Malik Evans said he believes the young people responsible for stealing cars are the same ones smashing in windows. He highlighted that Tuesday night’s teenage joyriders were found with a hammer when they were taken into custody. 

Lieutenant Greg Bello with the Rochester Police Department added that they’re looking into the connection between the teens and Boardman Street, but have not been able to confirm either way.

Mayor Evans encouraged anyone with security footage of car smashings, car thefts, or even just teenagers hanging around a vehicle to reach out to the city. With so many theft perpetrators under the age of 18, he also emphasized the importance of adult oversight.

“We have to look at the whole picture and we have to encourage families that if you can’t deal with your wayward child, reach out for help before its too late,” he said.

Police are encouraging people to reach out by calling 311, or using the anonymous Report It app.