New crime-fighting tools, including an additional 23 police officers, are being added to the Second Precinct in Huntington, officials said Wednesday.
In a news conference at the precinct on Park Avenue, Suffolk County Police Commissioner Tim Sini, Legis. William Spencer (D-Centerport), and town board member Tracey Edwards — who are all on the Nov. 7 election ballot — were joined by Legis. Steve Stern (D-Dix Hills) and community and religious leaders to tout a decrease in crime over the past 12 months. They cited collaboration among law enforcement, elected officials and the community as helping lead to the decline in crime.
Sini said in the Second Precinct this year there has been one murder, a domestic dispute, compared with five murders compared to the same period in 2016. So far this year in Huntington Station there was one shooting, 87 gang members arrested and 841 individual arrests on 1,243 charges, he said.
“Targeted enforcement is the name of the game,” Sini said. “A lot of times people say we want more police, what you really want is police officers with actual intelligence to target the right people in the right places. Flooding an area with police officers is not an effective tool.”
Other crime fighting tools said to help bring about the drop in crime in the precinct include the addition of two more license plate readers, bringing the total to five, the county’s new mobile app designed to provide access to drug addiction services, 25 targeted State Liquor Authority inspections resulting in 19 arrests since Jan. 1 and two license suspensions since Aug. 1, and four investigations of illegal massage parlors and spas resulting in nine arrests.
“It’s great to see collaboration with government and law enforcement, but when you see it with a cross section of the community that’s key,” Spencer said. “We have our challenges, but we are moving in the right direction.”
Bernadette Watkins, a youth outreach counselor in Huntington Station said conditions have improved in the community. “It’s been a rough road and we have a long way to go but I’m excited about the direction we are going,” she said.