A police substation, more police patrols including officers on foot and a Neighborhood Watch Program. These were all suggestions by readers to combat the problem of crime and vagrancy in Port Jefferson Station, especially in areas north of Route 347.
This came in a flood of comments after a story we ran where the commanding office of Suffolk County Police’s Sixth Precinct Inspector Robert Oswald reported at a civic association meeting that most crimes were down in Port Jefferson Station and calls to police dropped year-over-year.
He described the area as "a basic, solid, middle class community that has issues like every other one."
Readers took issue with Oswald’s assessment, and called for more police presence in troubled area.
“I highly doubt these numbers are accurate,” said Earl in comments after the original story. He claimed that Port Jefferson Station “is as bad as it has ever been” and invited officials to walk the streets to report back on their findings.
“Yeah, that will never happen,” he said.
Tom bone asked to have legislators like Kara Hahn (who has an office in Port Jefferson village) ride around with police to see what happens.
“…better yet have her walk with you from 347 and 112 to North Country Road,” he suggested. “… about a 10 minute walk through the zoo.”
He called it “downright scary.”
Frank Raffaele said that statistics like the ones that Oswald quoted only tell a part of the story.
“Our perception of security cannot be quantified thus it cannot be acted upon,” he said. “Statistical analysis is the way of the world lately.”
Some complained that they did not get a response when they called police, possibly skewing the statistics.
“I actually called the police on the non-emergency line this weekend for a noise complaint, and they simply never responded,” said Bryan Rivera. “That's one easy way to keep the numbers down. Ignore the incident entirely.”
Earl also said he called police twice and never got a response when reporting an incident.
Americanivory challenged the reporting on crime statistics.
“…everyone knows what Port Jefferson Station and now down into Terryville are becoming. There are drugs, stabbings, shootings, robberies, prostitution all going on right in front of us. Drunken vagrants hanging out in the Post Office parking lot, vomiting, urinating and bothering shoppers,” he said. “Really? Crime is down??”
Annie Gurl said that when she took the Long Island Railroad from Port Jefferson recently, she felt unsafe.
"…I drove rather than walked the couple of blocks and remained in my car until the train came. At 5:42 a.m.," she said. "I did not feel safe in that area, and there was absolutely no police presence in the area at that time although quite a few folks were waiting for the train."
More police needed
One idea that a lot of people seemed to agree on was having more patrols in trouble spots, including police walking the beat.
“We need foot patrols in Port Jeff Station, especially by the Jefferson Plaza and the bowling alley,” said Tom bone. “…police officers need to ride in two man cars in order to clean up the area before its too late.”
Julia said that Terryville has it’s own trouble spots like an area around Jayne Boulevard.
“…but the police should focus on the areas traveled by the many bums in the area such as the area south of the Meat Farms (and) DMV parking lot,” she said.
Lucky_1969 was among others who remembered that there were foot patrols here at one time.
“How long ago did they discontinue the downtown port foot post? I knew the PO personally who did that post for years back in the mid-80's to earl 90's when I was a police explorer and it was a very good deterrent and he knew everybody in Port,” Lucky_1969 said. “If they had something like that for (Port Jefferson Station) maybe one north of 347 and one south it would really make a difference.”
Tom bone suggested a foot post on Old Town Road, Jayne Boulevard, near the Long Island Railroad and Port Jeff Bowl as well
“No one wants to be on foot, but let’s face it, it is needed,” he said. “And the county charges us premium taxes, we should get it, even if it’s an overtime post. We would greatly benefit.”
Community Watch Programs
Tom bone wants a Community Watch Program, something that was a hot topic of discussion on Port Jefferson patch before.
“[Port Jefferson Station] still has many good families living here,” he said. “You hate to be a pest when always calling for minor stuff. However minor stuff escalates to more serious crime if not dealt with!”
Mels Ditties said that a Community Watch Program might have already been formed.
“If you do a search here, you should be able to find a contact for them,” Mels Ditties wrote. “Someone from the group has posted several times.”
Another idea revived in the comments was establishing a police substation in the middle of a trouble spot.
Lucky_1969 wanted one put in Jefferson Plaza on Route 112.
“That would probably help a lot,” Lucky_1969 said. “All they need is a little Fotomat-type booth like the one in Center Moriches. …there can be a bike patrol (from) April to Sept that covers most of the area. I know its sounds kind of silly but we really need a COPE type presence and when they are in the cars, it isn't as effective as someone interacting with the neighborhood.”
Tom bone agreed with the location saying it was "visible."
“Maybe just a temp trailer with SCPD plastered on it and a strobe light flashing on the roof of it,” he said. “Simple, effective and cheap.”
While no one advocated a vigilante-type reaction, some suggested taking matters in their own hands as ways to assist police and deter crime.
Tom bone said to post pictures of drug dealers so police can act on it. He also suggested contacting a bank that owns a foreclosed properties and let them know they need secure the house and put up a sign with contact information on it so police know who to call about prosecuting burglars and trespassers.
“Crime Stoppers… to borrow a phrase from NYC, ‘if you see something, say something,’” said Mels Ditties. “When you see crime in your area, contact Crime Stoppers.”
And while there were plenty of complaints there were compliments as well. Tom bone said that the Port Jefferson constables and Brookhaven Town Public Safety officers are very helpful when assisting with problems.
“We support the police,” he said. “Not the politics.”
Continue the conversation. Tell us what you think in the comments below.