While many Melbourne residents spent Labor Day weekend hunkering down for Hurricane Dorian, others had a different agenda.
On Wednesday, September 4, around 3:13 a.m, an unidentified individual broke the front windows to the Railroad Emporium in Downtown Melbourne, according to a Melbourne police report.
According to another Melbourne police report, there was an unrelated shooting on NASA Boulevard that same night.
These are just a few examples of crimes that tend to occur during storms.
Joshua Livasy, a senior in physics and a Melbourne native, said this issue needs to be solved.
“These storms have the potential to bring catastrophic damage to our communities as it is, but then you have people who use these disasters as a way to loot and vandalise local businesses,” Livasy said. “I think local law enforcement needs to find ways to keep a closer eye on the communities during these storms.”
Livasy also said he thinks keeping Downtown Melbourne safe and clean is very important not only to the city, but for the students of Florida Tech as well.
“Downtown Melbourne is not only a historical landmark here in Melbourne, it’s a place where many students here at Florida Tech go to enjoy themselves,” Livasy said. “But if the city of Melbourne doesn’t do a better job at keeping these communities safe, I think over time students won’t feel safe going there.”
However, other students, such as Jacob Mondoro, a sophomore in business management, think that regardless of what law enforcement tries, these kinds of crimes will continue to happen during hurricanes.
“Law enforcement can only do so much once the storm actually starts to affect us,” Mondoro said. “Once we start feeling the major effects of the storm, most of the local law enforcement does what we do and hunker down until it passes. It’s not until things calm down that responders start patrolling the communities again.”
Mondro also mentioned that the last thing business owners should have to worry about during a storm is whether or not their businesses are trying to be broken into.
“As a business owner, your concern in this time of crisis should be on whether or not the storm is going to cause damage, not if another person is going to damage your building,” Mondoro said.
With just a little over two months still left in the hurricane season, there’s still potential for more storms to come, and Livasy and Mondoro said they believe that local law enforcement needs to find better solutions for protecting these businesses and making the community a safer place to live.