NEW YORK — Richard Chan prowled around his cold, dark Staten Island home with knives and a sword to protect it from thieves, standing his ground as another East Coast storm threatened and police went door-to-door with loudspeakers warning people to get out.
I still have some valuables. I just can't leave it, he said Tuesday. I just don't want to lose my stuff to some dirtbag.
While city officials strongly encouraged storm-ravaged communities to seek higher ground before Wednesday's nor'easter, Chan was among a group who adamantly refused to leave, choosing to stick close to the belongings they have left.
Since the superstorm made landfall more than a week ago, killing 40 people in the city, more than 100 in 10 states and leaving millions without power, police said overall crime has actually gone down, not up. There are few reports of looting storm-damaged homes.
Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said it wasn't wise to stay put. He said police have arrested 123 people citywide since the storm blew in last week, 54 burglary arrests and 41 others stemming from gas line disputes. Police said the majority were in areas suffering from the storm.
Meanwhile, weather experts had good news for coastal residents Tuesday: A new storm that threatened to complicate Hurricane Sandy cleanup efforts today now looks like it will be weaker than expected.
As the storm moves up the Atlantic coast from Florida it now is expected to veer farther offshore than earlier projections had indicated. Jeff Masters of the private weather service Weather Underground says that means less wind and rainfall on land.
Even so, he said winds could still gust to 50 mph in New York and New Jersey Wednesday afternoon and evening.
And Lauren Nash, a meteorologist from the National Weather Service, said wind gusts might blow down tree limbs weakened from Sandy and cause more power outages. On Wednesday night, gusts may occasionally reach 60 mph in coastal Connecticut and Long Island, she said.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie warned Tuesday that high winds may mean some residents who regained power will lose it again, and the wind could also slow efforts to restore power. There is nothing we can do to stop the storms, he said.
Storm surges along the coasts of New Jersey and New York are expected to reach perhaps 3 feet, only half to a third of what Hurricane Sandy caused last week, Masters said.
The 9/11 memorial reopened to the public Tuesday a week after Superstorm Sandy flooded the World Trade Center site as it roared into New York, but another temporary closure was planned for Wednesday in anticipation of an approaching Nor'easter.
City parks were also scheduled to shut, from noon Wednesday through noon Thursday, because of potentially high winds.
The earlier news from the memorial about its post-Sandy reopening was that the superstorm spared the core of the memorial: the reflective fountains ringed by the names of those who died in the terrorist attack.