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East Williston wants residents to aid security

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Posted: Thursday, December 1, 2016 10:06 am

East Williston village officials are encouraging residents to report crimes to Village Hall as well as the police.

That helps keep the village apprised of security problems and suspicious behavior and makes it easier to follow up on specific incidents with Nassau County police, said Walter Rivera, a member of the village’s Security Committee.

“If they’re calling just the police department, which of course they have to do for the emergency, it’s great that the village realizes that something else happened,” said Caroline DeBenedittis, the committee chairwoman.

The village has received about four calls reporting crimes or suspicious incidents since it started asking residents to submit such reports about two months ago, said Marie Hausner, the village clerk.

Officials will keep a more active count as they continue encouraging residents to make calls, she said.

Residents should call 911 first in an emergency, but reporting things to the village is one way to improve communication, which is key to village security, Rivera said.

Sharing the information with police can help them target patrols more effectively and increase them if necessary, Rivera said.

Other recent communication efforts include an initiative to grow the village’s email list, through which it has distributed information about recent incidents and crime prevention tips.

East Williston officials have worked to bolster security since a spike in residential burglaries shook residents earlier this year.

A private security vehicle has patrolled the village for about a year, and officials plan to install lights and surveillance cameras at Devlin Field, which has been identified as a security trouble spot.

Stephan Leccese, a village resident and security advocate, said he thinks reporting incidents to Village Hall is a “good mechanism” for security.

But he said the village should also work out the kinks in its email system because some messages do not get to all subscribers.

“That’s one step in the direction, but I think we just need to keep pushing forward to end up with an environment that’s safer for all residents,” Leccesse said.

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