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Readers Debate if Upper Port Jefferson Needs a Neighborhood Watch

We asked if the area would benefit from the public safety program.

Residents and business owners in Port Jefferson have been complaining about the crime and homelessness plaguing Upper Port Jefferson for a long time. Last week we asked on Patch if people thought a Neighborhood Watch would be helpful in Upper Port Jefferson.

The comments we got were mixed.

One commenter by the name of Mels Ditties said the problem with establishing a Neighborhood Watch in the area is that the residents who live there are not the type to get involved.

“The remainder are shop owners, who work there and do not have the free time to patrol the area,” Mels Ditties said.

Earl agreed.

He said that the problem with the residential area is that many of the homes are rented.

“And people come and go constantly, so getting a Neighborhood Watch going will certainly not be easy,” he said. “Constant police presence is what is needed, and has been called for numerous times, but falls on deaf ears.”

Earl said he sees police cars in the area but not where he wants them to be.

“I love a few weeks ago on a Friday night when I drove past the post office shopping center there were three cop cars parked side by side when they really should be spread out in the area,” he said.

Bryan Rivera said that everyone sees suspicious people loitering in front of their businesses but that won’t help matters.

“The cops don't need a spotter to tell them that,” he said.

He also thinks a greater police presence is needed.

“What they need to do over there is show up, exit their vehicles and walk around for a few hours during prime time,” Rivera said.

As for the residential areas, he’s not sure it will be effective.

“I do believe the actual neighborhoods that are unfortunately close to that area would benefit from a Neighborhood Watch,” he said. “Whether I believe anyone will respond in a timely manner is a different story.”

A commenter named Diamond said that he doesn’t see the Code officers as resolving any issues in Upper Port Jefferson.

“Talk is cheap lets see some action or nothing will get solved,” Diamond said. “The answer is to call 911 and forget about code.”

Jc said that a Neighborhood Watch wouldn’t be needed if you get rid of some of the businesses in the area.

“Get rid of the barber shops, pool hall and Pax Christi and you won’t need a Neighborhood Watch,” he said.

Richard Dernister sees the solution in getting rid of rentals.

“Eliminate rental housing: no SROs (official or otherwise), no rental apartments, no marginal houses for rent,” Dernister said. “Don't you have a zoning board? If someone wants to live in the community, they must be required to have a stake in the community, otherwise this area is going to be just like the Bronx (and not the nice sections, either).”

Mels Ditties disagreed saying that getting rid of rentals would hurt others because it would have to be applied throughout the village.

“It would kill the property owners,” she said. “Almost every building has some rental apartments.”

Alissa wrote that she likes the idea of a Neighborhood Watch.

“I live right in that area by the plaza on 112. I think a neighborhood watch is a great idea,” she said. “I have been living in the area for almost two years and it has become dangerous at night.”

She said when she first moved here she’d take her young child for walks during the day and used to walk to local stores to shop, which I still does but only on a “very rare basis.”

“Drunks attacking clerks at 7Eleven at 11 a.m., people drinking at the bus stop, drunks fighting in stores and this just some stuff I have witnessed in the past few months,” she said. “It's really a shame how bad this is getting. I think this could help cut some of this crime. I would like to stay in this area with friends and family so close but I'm starting to worry about the safety for my child.”

Want to add to the conversation? Let us know what you think in the comments below and take our poll.

Mels Ditties October 18, 2012 at 02:59 AM
If I can have a wish (besides, "where is the poll?") I wish that the PTB read all of these comments on the upper port area..and PLEASE do something...PLEASE help out...It's PORT JEFFERSON....
crookhaven October 19, 2012 at 04:11 PM
c'mon,port jeff has the drug addict town of brookhaven public safety idiots! they make illegal vehicle stops and carry illegal weapons, too!
Tom bone January 28, 2013 at 11:26 PM
Most of the port Jeff constable are retired cops who are over qualified as constable . They are an excellent asset to the community and police. I am all for the constable being more involved and giving them peace officer status if they don't already have it .port Jeff needs to make the constable a village police force and allow the officers to to make arrests. The constable put on bullet proof vests and carry a 9mm and go out into the night on solo patrol for 14 bucks an hour . Give them a break , most people are too afraid to put on a police uniform and walk into 711 at 1 in the mourning and walk into god knows what . We complain f they stop someone and say ,hey they can't do that . On the other hand they are actively interacting with the public and risking their own lives . Who knows, maybe the guy they stop is drunk or high or wanted etc , you get my point . We should get Brookhaven to upgrade their public safety to peace officers with vests and firearms . They can hire retired cops . I always see public safety in port Jeff sta , Setauket and selden are. They are visible but lack the tools nessesary to do the job people don't respect them and ignore them. Put the public safety in two man patrols in a crown Vic. Not a cheesy Malibu or sub compact.
Tom bone January 28, 2013 at 11:31 PM
Most people complain about the cops and don't respect any public safety or auxiliary officers . If these people had a back bone they would join the auxillary and volunteer to doo a foot post in candy land port Jeff sta . They would be scared and hide in the back of 711 by the coffee pot rather than stop a group of two or 3 dirt bags by the bowling alley.

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