By Janee Law
As part of a larger Suffolk Police initiative to deter crime, two overt security cameras have been installed in Greenlawn and Huntington Station, officials announced Monday.
Suffolk Police Commissioner Timothy Sini and Suffolk Legislator William “Doc” Spencer (D-Centerport) announced the initiative during a press conference held at the corner of Rockne Street and Broadway in Greenlawn, where one of the cameras has been installed, and an area that has recently been plagued by crime, according to a local business owner.
“Our attention is laser focused on making our community safer than ever,” said Spencer, who is also a member of the county legislature’s public safety committee. “Huntington is one of the finest places in the world to live and raise a family. Our goal here, announcing this camera program today, is to put criminals on notice.
“Don’t come here.”
Mohammad Afzaal, owner of One Stop Deli near where the camera in Greenlawn has been installed, said his deli has been burglarized after hours five times over the nine year’s he’s owned it. Those break-ins have cost him over $10,000, he said.
However, with the newly-installed camera, Afzaal said the area feels more secure.
“When they see the police camera outside they’ll be worried to come,” Afzaal said. “It’s helpful for the community, for the business, for everyone.”
Sini said 12 cameras, purchased with $130,000 in funds from asset forfeiture, have been installed across the county, with at least one within the area policed by each of the Suffolk Police precincts.
Second Precinct Inspector Christopher Hatton said after the press conference that a second camera installed last October near Jack Abrams Intermediate School in Huntington Station at the corner of Lowndes Avenue and Tower Street. The camera in Greenlawn was installed last month, Hatton added.
“These were areas that we wanted to get our message out that the police are here,” Hatton said, adding that the cameras “give our officers here another tool to use to fight street crime and quality of life offenses.”
The full motion cameras, which capture in full color, can pan, tilt and zoom. They can also be moved to different locations, as needed. Suffolk police officials can access camera feeds remotely via computer or smartphone through a secure system.
Sini added that officials will monitor crime statistics and quality of life issues in the areas where cameras are installed to gauge effectiveness.
“Quantitative evidence suggests cameras in conjunction with other police preventive measures in technology, including shots fired, facial recognition, video analytics and intelligence of community led police work is what makes the overt cameras most successful,” Sini said.
Jim McGoldrick, 58, a lifelong Huntington Station resident, said he hopes the initiative will cut down crime rates and make residents feel safer.
“The goal is to have your children be able to walk around the street and the elderly be able to go get a quart of milk,” McGoldrick said. “I know in Huntington Station we have our crime, but it has improved drastically. Commissioner Sini, Deputy Commissioner John Barry and Doc Spencer, they are the ones that are pushing these projects along and it’s very important to the community.”