Superstorm Sandy has claimed fatalities across several mid-Atlantic states and has left millions of people without power. Law enforcement is playing a major role in helping people survive the aftermath of the storm.
Read more: Live updates on Sandy's toll
HLN/In Session law enforcement analyst Mike Brooks said police are working around the clock to help restore services, find shelter for displaced people and help with the cleanup.
“I just got a message from a buddy. He’s been working now for over 24 hours. They are just taxed, especially in New York City right now. New York City Fire Department, New York City police, they’re working closely with the National Guard. They’re out in Queens and the Rockaway area, and the Belhaven Harbor area and also Breezy Point. Because they have over 80 homes that have been totally destroyed by fire. So they’re worrying about people who are left homeless now, and finding a place for them to go." he said. "So, right now, the whole city of New York, they are basically under attack, especially in the Queens area.”
Brooks said police may also have to worry about looting in addition to helping people find shelter and deal with storm damage.
NBC Philadelphia reports that police there arrested a man for looting, but first, they had to rescue him because the building he was allegedly looting collapsed on him.
Brooks said it may be more difficult for looters to find opportunities to steal after Sandy.
After Irene, people could still move around because mass transit was still up and running, he said. But with Sandy it's different. “There’s too much standing water,” said Brooks, “You can’t loot if you can’t get around.”
After the water from Sandy recedes, some people may try to start looting because they think law enforcement will be busy rescuing people, but he said, “Law enforcement plans for looting so hopefully it won’t be a problem.”
If you do see looting or a crime in progress, notify the authorities, even though that can be difficult in situations with massive storm damage. For example, New York City is experiencing an 911 overload. Law enforcement is encouraging people to call 311 for non-emergencies like downed trees.
Brooks also said if you witness looting, you should leave the area for your own safety.