If you haven’t heard the latest hot button issue facing Port Jeff, you might just be living under a rock. It’s hard to miss the blazing emotions sweeping the Port Jefferson/PJS area following major reports of violent felonies plaguing the community. We’ve been hearing what Port Jeff Patch readers and locals have to say and the coconscious is pretty clear – the violence and crime just needs to stop!
So, how serious is this? Is it just a weird coincidence or is there really a clear pattern of criminal behavior developing around our hometown? It’s a question that I have been pondering, asking, and just can’t get a clear answer on. So I went ahead and reviewed Crime Reports and local news listings for incidents around the Port Jefferson Village and PJ Station areas for the last few weeks. Go ahead, take a look at the facts and you decide.
- Last Friday, a man was violently assaulted and robbed at the Long Island Railroad Station in Port Jeff. His head was split open with an unknown object and his prescription medication, cash, and cell phone were taken. The MTA police are conducting an investigation, but no arrests have been made. I asked the MTA if they would increase patrols following the incident, and MTA Spokesman Salvatore Arena said, “The MTA PD believes its current patrol strategy with officers in sector cars and on trains is working successfully. Incidents of crime at the railroad station are rare. In fact, the attack on Friday night in which a homeless man was set upon, beaten and robbed, was the first such incident this year. In 2011, there were none. In addition, MTA PD has already stepped up its enforcement of LIRR quality of life violations such as smoking, drinking, etc.”
- Following an early morning altercation on Saturday August 5th, a man was stabbed in front of the McDonalds on West Broadway in Port Jeff Village. According to reports, the man was stabbed multiple times and the assailant fled the scene. Witnesses reported seeing a trail of blood leading to the benches in front of Village Hall, where the victim was found. He was later transported to Stony Brook University Medical Center for his injuries. An investigation is ongoing, and police have not yet made an arrest.
- A man riding his bicycle behind Jefferson Plaza on Route 112 in Port Jeff Station, just a little bit more than 1,000 feet from the Port Jeff LIRR Station, was robbed at gunpoint for his wallet. No arrests have been made.
- A cashier at 7-11 on Route 112 in Port Jefferson Station was assaulted in what was reported as an unprovoked attack. According to reports, an undomiciled man, Glenn Johnson, 30, entered the 7-11 at 408 Route 112 on July 23rd. He removed a bottle of water from the refrigerator and then punched the cashier in the face. The employee was taken to Mather Hospital and Mr. Johnson was arrested by Suffolk County Police. A spokesperson for 7-11 could not immediately comment on the incident, but did tell me that 7-11 has a crime deterrent program in which all of their franchisees are trained in, as well as tactics to not provoke shoplifters. 7-11 also has Loss Prevention Officers who oversee security operations. A manager at the 7-11 location declined to comment as to the well-being of the assaulted employee, but did say that the store regularly sees shoplifting activity.
- Samantha Knab and Michael Wills were arrested following a month long burglary spree. The couple who allegedly burglarized homes in Port Jefferson Station and surrounding areas were arrested by police while trying to break into a sixth home.
- According to reports, a security guard from Arrow Security was assaulted after spotting Sean McMahon, 42, of Medford, taking items from Bravo Supermarket without paying for them. According to witnesses, McMahon shoved the guard to the ground and fled. McMahon was later arrested while causing a disturbance at Mather Hospital. A manager at Bravo, who identified himself only as George, told me “there is a lot of shoplifting and people trying to steal here.” When asked if he thought increased patrols during specific hours would help tame shoplifting and crime in the area, he told me “there is no specific time – they are always stealing”.
- A Port Jefferson Station woman, Christina Sherman, 21, and an accomplice, Anna Joskowska, were both arrested on accusation of robbing six and eight homes, respectively, of jewelry and cash, including at least one in Port Jefferson Station, according to police. Sherman, who was arrested at her home in Port Jefferson Station, was arraigned on July 23rd and charged with six counts of Burglary in the 2nd Degree. She pled not guilty, but remains in county jail, where she did not post bail, and faces up to 90 years if convicted. Jaskowska was charged with eight counts, after being arrested at the SCPD Sixth Precinct.
- Police were called in June to The Port Jefferson Beverage Center on Railroad Avenue in Port Jefferson Station, where the front door had been damaged. The reason behind the act of vandalism remains unknown.
- In late June, in separate incidents, police were called to respond when two different men were punched in the face by an unknown black assailant. One in front of Islandwide Transportation in Upper Port Jefferson Village and one in front of 7-11 on Route 112 in Port Jefferson Station.
- A woman called Suffolk Police on June 23rd to report that she was assaulted by a group of people she identified as three black men and a Hispanic woman. According to reports, she was punched in the face, thrown to the ground, and kicked.
Although both Suffolk County Police and the Port Jefferson Code Enforcement Division have increased patrols in the area, many residents fear these incidents are indicative of a larger, serious crime pattern developing.
Residents have been sounding off on Port Jeff Patch, in the comments section, and the feedback following these happenings is just not good. Criticisms to the Police, local elected officials and the Village Board seem to be a recurring theme. Multiple readers expressed the same question, “Does someone have to die for our politicians and police to take action in PJS/PJ Village?”
One Port Jeff Patch reader put it bluntly in her Facebook comment “Something has got to be done! Either a change is going to come, or I’m moving out of PJ!”
What do you think? Is this pattern of violent criminal behavior becoming the norm in Port Jeff? I want to hear from you, your suggestions and how you feel about this. Post in the comments below, send me an e-mail or follow me on Twitter @heymike76.