Huntington's crime problem isn't just for Huntington Station.
That's the word from Mayor Herb Morrow who voiced his concerns to the Town Board regarding the rising frequency of crime in Huntington which he said is affecting his village and businesses in the town.
"What I've heard people say is that they cannot find it as a comfortable place to go," said Morrow, speaking on behalf of his Village Board Tuesday. "On any given night there are groups loitering in the town that intimidate visitors."
Morrow, a Republican candidate for the Town Board, said he has been told by police and business owners that many more events, in addition to the highly publicized recent crimes on Green and Wall Streets, don't make the news.
Business owners are considering hiring their own security personnel to ensure safety of customers and staff, particularly late at night, according to the mayor.
"My fear is that crime creep will continue to grow in the village, and if it does, we will begin to see more retail space empty and current owners thinking about moving their businesses to other parts of the island," said Morrow.
In Huntington Bay, Morrow said police have advised at least one resident not to walk in Heckscher Park after dark unless there was an event scheduled there.
"I think we are all aware that part of the problem is rooted in the gangs that have decided to call Huntington home and the incredible amount of drug activity in the area," said Morrow. "In my village this summer, we have had a few disturbing incidents that are tied to both."
Morrow said he respects the work of the Second Precinct but hopes that a new Suffolk County executive will add more police.
He is also considering ways to use the four village police departments as regular, available backup to the county when there is an issue to villages. "Two years ago there was an incident at a Cinco de Mayo and both Huntington Bay and Lloyd Harbor backed up the county."
Supervisor Frank Petrone said the has had a "few meetings this week" with the Second Precinct police and business organizations have been asked to get involved.
"There is a need for total coordination, everyone recognizes that and that's in the process right now," said Petrone.
Morrow asked the board to communicate better with the residents regarding any efforts to reduce crime because of concerns regarding what's going on in Huntington and what's going on with elected officials.
"I'd like to thank Mayor Morrow for his thoughtful suggestions and bringing more public awareness of crime creep," said board member Mark Mayoka.
Later in the meeting, the board approved $37,800 in funding for an upgrade and redesign to the town website. Petrone said this should help with crime prevention communication.