By Karen Zautyk
In recent months, Nutley has been plagued by a series of thefts from, and of, autos. Then came a bunch of break-ins to homes and businesses and an increase in narcotics activity. And last week brought two robberies at local gas stations and one street mugging.
Last week also brought a new sight to Nutley’s streets: police checkpoints. Roving checkpoints. The better to let the criminals know that the township is mad as hell and won’t take anymore.
Nutley has certainly not become a hotbed of criminal activity. But the idea is to keep it from turning into one, from losing its status as what officials call “one of the safest communities in the state.”
Thus, Police Commissioner Alphonse Petracco’s “Not in Nutley” campaign, devised along with Police Chief John Holland.
Nutley, Petracco said in a press release announcing the initiative, is intent on “sending a message to anyone thinking about committing a crime” in the township.
One of the campaign triggers (no pun intended) was, in the words of Det. Anthony Montanari, “the brandishing of handguns” in last week’s incidents. “When crimes rise to this level,” Montanari said, “there is a need to be proactive, and for the police to be more visible.”