More Light On Public Safety

 The beginning of Depot Road in Huntington Station (photo / Google Maps).

The beginning of Depot Road in Huntington Station (photo / Google Maps).

Following community outcry about public safety in Huntington Station, the Town of Huntington will double the wattage of bulbs lighting Depot Road.

Over the next month, each 40-watt bulb fixture on Depot Road from 9th to 17th Street will be replaced with an 80-watt fixture, town officials said this week.

“Brighter bulbs are needed to deter crime and provide our residents with a safer environment,” said Councilwoman Susan Berland, who lobbied for the change. “The residents of Depot Road deserve to feel safe and I believe these measures will help.”

Berland said she requested a survey of the area’s lighting by a member of the town’s department of transportation and traffic safety.

The new bulbs should replace the old ones in existing fixtures over the next three-to-four weeks, town officials said, and the department of transportation and traffic safety will decide whether or not additional fixtures should be installed.

This effort is one of several recent efforts to make the Huntington Station area safer in the wake of the murder of Walt Whitman High School student Maggie Rosales.

On Oct. 12, the lifeless body of Rosales, 18, was found on Lynch Street and Depot Road. Rosales’ throat had been sliced twice, according to District Attorney Rafael Pearl.

At the time, Rosales’ killing was the fourth unsolved Huntington Station murder over a one-year period. Daniel Carbajal, 25, was shot and killed outside a Huntington Station residence in July; Luis Ramos-Rodriguez, 38, was stabbed to death outside of a Huntington Station restaurant; and the body of Sarah Strobel, 23, was found in the woods of Froelich Farm preserve last October. An arrest was made in the Rosales case in late October.

In the weeks that followed Rosales’ death, community members lobbied for increased police presence. Citizen vigilante group The Guardian Angels announced its return to Huntington Station during a march to honor Rosales before the Oct. 21 town board meeting.

“The community is in fear,” Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa said in October.

At the same march and the town board meeting that followed, friends of Rosales’ voiced their own safety concerns.

Jessica Benitez, who said she was a close friend of Rosales’, said that she feels that safety in Huntington Station is limited.

“I am afraid to walk out of my house, afraid that something would happen,” she said. “Afraid that something would happen to those whom I care about.”

The replacement of 40-watt bulbs with 80-watt bulbs is set to begin immediately, town officials said this week.