Inspector Jay Caputo and colleagues from the Nassau County Police Department's sixth precinct recently met with residents of Manorhaven to discuss incidents of auto vandalism and to address other concerns that the community might have.
Caputo said, "I am here to let you know what we have been doing and to answer your questions." He said that the biggest recent criminal activity has been about 65 instances of car windshield breakage. Caputo told the residents, "We did field interviews, and after that it stopped. We think we know who did it, but couldn't prove it." In addition, he said, there have been "a couple of burglaries, an assault, and a couple of robberies." He added that some of the individuals who are committing crime in Manorhaven have gang affiliation.
Caputo introduced his colleagues, as well as the officers who patrol the Manorhaven area, and invited the residents to submit questions or problems.
Officer Liz Campos described the youth programs that the Department runs for youth from 14-20 years of age, "Long Island's Law Enforcement Explorer Program. She mentioned some of the activities, for example, playing volleyball or tickets to the circus, a blood drive. She said, "It's a hands-on program. Some of the individuals may be interested in becoming police officers. We try to get the youth involved in whatever we can."
A resident expressed concern about child molesters. Caputo said, "We have lists, and we check them out. If you see anyone suspicious, let us know." He added that males 14- or 15-years-old are the primary targets for child molesters. Following on the theme of child molesters, Campos cautioned about monitoring your children's computer use. She said, "Have the computer in a public area of the home. If you have it in the child's bedroom it is like inviting someone into your home."
In response to expressed concerns about gangs, the police department representatives acknowledged that there is gang activity in Manorhaven. Officer Peter Chuchul said, "Look for the kids who are congregating and wearing the colors. We are aware of it and it has been here for years but it is growing. We know who the individuals are." He added that some gang members start very young-maybe as young as 6 or 7 years of age, commenting, "Once you get in it is very difficult to get out."
Chuchul provided tips about personal safety. Some of them: know your neighbors, make sure you have a light (he recommended motion sensors), if you go out turn on the coffee and the TV to make it look as if someone was just there, if you go away make sure your mail and papers are stopped, if you have a ladder in the backyard put a chain and lock around it, if you have an expensive piece of jewelry, put it in an inaccessible place.
Some of the concerns addressed by the residents during the discussion period included burglaries, drugs, and homeless people. Regarding the latter, the police department said that it is a very hard issue to deal with, especially if the homeless individual is not committing any crime. Regarding drugs and burglaries, the police officials said that the incidence in Manorhaven is not very high, and asked the residents to tell the police if they observe problems.
In response to a resident's questions about where Manorhaven is with reference to crime, Caputo said that Part 1 of the sixth precinct has the lowest number of crimes in Nassau County. He said that our crime rate is down by two and one-half percent. He said that last year there were 62 crimes and year-to-date there were 46. Caputo said that the crime statistics can be viewed on the Nassau County web site (http://www.police.nassaucountyny.gov.)
Another concern was overcrowded apartments. Mayor Nicholas Capozzi acknowledges that there are overcrowded apartments in Manorhaven, but said, "We do everything we can to stop it." Someone else asked about a neighborhood watch. Caputo responded that it is possible, but there is really not much crime in Manorhaven, and a neighborhood watch requires a lot of resources.
Both Mayor Capozzi and newly-elected county legislator Wayne Wink, who attended the meeting, commended the sixth precinct for the excellent job that they are doing. Wink added, "I look forward to working with you and with the sixth precinct to smooth out any issues. You are welcome to call me with any concerns at 573-6670.