Concerns About Safety after North Massapequa Police Chase

Residents near where suspects were spotted say street has had past problems.

Jittery North Massapequa residents where the chase that led to say they there have been problems in the neighborhood before.

A gray Honda that police believed caused a crash that seriously injured an officer from the Seventh Precinct was photographed on South Park Drive was photographed just before the crash. Residents say the desolate street, which runs parallel to the parkway, has long attracted suspicious people from outside the area.

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"It's horrible what goes on here," said Steven Esposito, who lives on the street. "People racing on the street, interlopers, people who walk their dogs and don't even live in the neighborhood."

Esposito, 56, who has lived on the street for 50 years, says he recently saw a driver speeding down the street in reverse. The area is also a magnet for outsiders because there are no homes on one side of the road and a water storage facility makes it difficult to see parked cars.

Police believe the two men who were inside the Honda went to the neighborhood to change license plates.

Esposito said that cars often come into to the neighborhood all the time.

"You don't know if they're up to something or just eating a sandwich," he said. "It's just something that you deal with."

The homeowner, who lives with his elderly mother, said that police are often called to the street. But if residents don't get a license plate number for those who speed or engage in other illegal activity, there's not much they can do.

"We could use some help," he said. "But you can't call for everything."

Esposito said the Town of Oyster Bay recently installed brighter lights on the street.

Another resident, who asked not to be identified, said the town should get more involved.

"This is a problem area, " the resident said. "We'd like to see the Town step in. We'd like to get more lights, maybe a 'No Parking Anytime' sign. Maybe have more patrols. I would like to say at night, but this happened in the daytime."

Currently, parking is prohibited during overnight hours on the side of the street that does not have homes. Residents say that directive is often ignored.

Phyllis Barry, a spokeswoman for the Town of Oyster Bay, said legislation would be required to change the parking regulation and urged the residents to contact the supervisor's office or Councilman Joe Muscarella, who lives nearby.

"I can tell you for certain if residents reach out to us, they'll look into it," Barry said. 

Joe Pollina, another longtime resident, said his thoughts were with the injured officer. "I don't like it, I don't like it at all," he said. "I read in the paper they slammed on the brakes, I hope she holds on."

Esposito said his mother has been very nervous since the incident. "I'm just telling her to stay low and keep her head down at night."

cookie Costanza November 22, 2011 at 10:49 PM
Jason Molinet November 22, 2011 at 11:00 PM
@Dave Community meeting a great idea.
James M. November 22, 2011 at 11:24 PM
IS there a website where residents can email complaints to? or is calling the only option?
Jason Molinet November 23, 2011 at 12:54 AM
The Seventh Precinct is responsible for the neighborhood: http://patch.com/L-cdXb
Dave November 23, 2011 at 01:52 AM
We have contacted Mangano's office and are awaiting a callback. We hope to get some information on what the next steps are to address our concerns. We hope that The Patch will allow us to post some of the information on the site if the town allows us some type of forum to have a conversation about what to do. We hope that the community around us will be supportive in coming to any meetings or getting involved in petitions if needed. Hopefully we will have some information soon. Fingers crossed that we can get some help....
Bob November 23, 2011 at 02:26 AM
Who are you asking to look into this? Have you called yourself?
Diana Hibbard LoCascio November 23, 2011 at 02:46 AM
Why not install video surveillance to capture license plates in troubled areas? They do it for intersections. I imagine it would make for better evidence than a citizen's report about suspicious activity. If it were viewable in real time, the police could better handle the area.
David Rosenthal November 23, 2011 at 03:07 PM
Theoretically a good idea Diana. However, the cameras would be a red flag to a perspective buyer of a home in that area. You might solve one problem, but create a larger problem for the community as a whole. A possible solution would be to have a car from the Town of Oyster Bay Enforcement patrol the area to back up the Nassau County Patrol in that area of concern.
Jason Molinet November 23, 2011 at 04:05 PM
Those cameras can be turned on the residents too. Privacy not a concern?
Diana Hibbard LoCascio November 23, 2011 at 05:37 PM
The cameras would be situated to see the street, not the houses. Every time we walk into a store, airport, etc... there are security cameras. Some private residences now have video security. If the issue of misdeeds is truly troubling, then a few people got noticed/caught for being up to no good, word would spread among their peers. If you make it a hassle and risk of being caught, then your problem will be solved. I don't suspect that residents are in need of privacy when they are out on the street in full view. No one is suggesting they be focused on looking into the living room windows, lol.... It might even be nice to know that someone can come home in the dark and not worry as much about hearing a noise. They would not need to be obtrusive. If scaring off buyers were a concern, then even mentioning it publicly, like here, would be a no no.... A car driving by periodically can't cover the area like a 24 hour monitored video camera. It would be easy for someone to pay attention to when the patrol has passed by. Having no problem would be a better selling point than trying to hide it.
John Rennhack November 23, 2011 at 08:03 PM
To solve the issue of potential buyers not pleased with seeing security cameras on the streets and to still keep the area safe, perhaps the cameras can go on the Water District property and be angled at the street. It would be safety for the block AND the water district. A potential buyer would not have a problem with protecting the water supply. Police patrols or Public Safety patrols of the area would be a good idea. Signage stating "This Area Monitored by CCTV" would be a more full-time deterent. Patrols are random and can be hit and miss... someone reading the sign and seeing the camera will rethink parking there.
ed November 23, 2011 at 09:36 PM
This rise in crime is a direct result of the Nassau Republican Party and Ed Mangano's war on the Nassau Police Department. He has cut almost all special patrols and reduced problem oriented police by 75%. On any given day you have 80-100 less Nassau Cops on the street patroling your neighborhood. Mangano will lie to the public and say he is taking cops off desk duty and on to the street. Nothing could me more untrue. He simply is taking those cops and using them to plug up overtime in mandatory patrols. Mandatory staffing is another thing he is trying to attack. Rules that force all sectors to be manned with COPS 24/7! Mangano would like to see this go away and create an NYPD "Will come in a few hours" police response while every cops is out there writing tickets instead of protecting the public!
ed November 23, 2011 at 09:39 PM
John we don't need any more cameras....this is America.
Cathy November 24, 2011 at 02:19 AM
It is very nice to live where theres only houses on one side for the sake of less traffic & its quieter. Unfortunetly it comes with a price. The biggest worry used to be young couples parking there. Times have changed to an unsafe society. Lets all pray this officer recovers & be thankful at Thanksgiving time that there are people out there willing to risk their lives for us!
Cathy November 24, 2011 at 02:21 AM
This Town of Oyster Bay Enforcement Patrol, is this a new department? What do they do?
ed November 24, 2011 at 02:51 PM
TOB Public safety are unarmed security guards. They have no jurisdiction on county roads. They only patrol Oyster Bay parks and railroad stations. They have no police powers.
David Rosenthal November 25, 2011 at 04:20 PM
Ed, wouldn't it be helpful if the TOB Public Safety Patrol be the eyes and ears extension of the Nassau County Police as they drive to their enforcement locations- the parks, and what did you say- the railroads? How about the LIRR Police? They all have the same job, to protect the people of Nassau County. Wouldn't it be prudent to have these forces relate to one another to form a seamless workforce for the common good of all Nassau's residents. "It's not MY Job mentality should have passed in the last century". At least we should know for sure the right hand knows what the left hand is doing 24/7 without the political rhetoric getting in the way.
ed November 27, 2011 at 04:16 AM
Eyes and ears are great but a security guard/officer can only call 911. They can't take enforcement action as far a making arrest and stop, question, and frisk of suspicious person. What you need is highly trained and properly investigated (background check) new hires of police officers. Ed Mangano has continued to reduce police staffing levels to record lows. You have less than 2,200 cops for 1.5 million Nassau residents while NYC has over 35,000 cops for 8 million. You simply can't control ever increasing crime by cutting units and not hiring new police officers.
Kristen Ferrari November 27, 2011 at 04:44 AM
Ed, I'm not going to disagree on the need for a well-staffed police department. I certainly enjoy the safe community I live in. But I don't know that an increase of crime is a direct result of any perceived war on the police department by Ed Mangano. The economy has tanked and usually there is an increase in crime due to desperation. As far as the TOB Safety Patrol goes, sometimes a presence works as a deterrent regardless of their ability to make arrests. You sound more like a PBA delegate than a concerned citizen. I understand trying to protect police jobs and I do have concerns over some of the allegations regarding salaries for the Safety Patrol and how they got their positions, but I think we need to find some real solutions. I don't know that Mangano is at war with the police. I'd say he has a tough job and there are no easy answers and not everyone will be happy with what he does. And that's not a defense of him as much as its saying we all need to work to find solutions.
Kristen Ferrari November 27, 2011 at 04:45 AM
I agree with you on that. Cameras everywhere is a very scary thing.
Dave November 28, 2011 at 03:25 PM
I dont think we should be turning this into a politcal conversation about Mangano and cuts and everything else. The reality is something happened in our community last week. We had 2 individuals that were very suspicious up to something. They may have done something or were about to. Then a police officer who was protecting us was seriously hurt and could have been killed. This is what happened. We need to leave he politcs out of this. We get enough of this with everything we see on TV. We need to come together as a community and work with the powers that be (because we have too) and find a solution. We need to work with the town and police force and find a solution. We need to work with everyone. And if they do not want to help then we escalate it further and further till someone listens and helps. We have complained about this problem area for years and it has now escalated to an officer needing 2 surgeries. What is next?? This is the time for us to work with the right people and protect our community. I dont know the answer to the problem but I am willing to listen to the town and police. We have to listen. We need them. Regardless of politics.. I do not mean any disrespect to anyone on this page. I just want to work and find a solution for our community because I love this neighborhood.
ed November 30, 2011 at 04:35 AM
Kristen I'm not political at all. Suozzi was just as brutal on police staffing and funding. The bottom line is we have on any given day 80-100 less Nassau Cops on the street patroling your neighborhood in Nassau. That means less plain clothes cops, less burglary patrols, non existent drug enforcement. Don't think for a minute the criminals aren't starting to notice. Having a bad economy (Casued by the corrupt banking industry) just adds fuel to the fire.
Kristen Ferrari November 30, 2011 at 12:05 PM
Ed, again, I'm all for a well-staffed department and I'm not one of the people complaining about the police salaries. Even in safe neighborhoods, they have a dangerous job and don't always get the thanks they deserve. But at some point when the county is in the hole that it's in, there has to be some give. I don't care if I see 5 cop cars sitting in a parking lot together because it means that not much can be going on and that's a good thing. But is there waste? Are there ways to save money? My son is in college and when he graduates there are no jobs and if he can afford a house, which he probably can't, can he afford to pay the ridiculously high taxes? I doubt it. So does he leave Long Island and go to another state where there is a nice quality of life, good schools, and he can afford to live? Or does he stay here where it seems as if so many can't keep their heads above water anymore? These are really tough times and I don't think Mangano has easy choices. Ultimately everyone is going to feel it and unfortunately that also means the police department.
John Rennhack December 06, 2011 at 01:23 AM
News**** I spoke to a rep of Councilman Muscarella about the problem. Concerned neighbors need to send a letter to Commisioner Betz of TOBAY Dept. of Public Works. To start the ball rolling they would need to see the area and determine if there is proper lighting and signage. In the letter, outline your concerns about strange vehicles parked at all hours and previous lack of security for the area. The more letters, the better. Include what you believe needs to be done. I would copy the letter to Councilman Muscarella. The Commissioner Betz letter can be addressed to him at 150 MILLER PLACE SYOSSET, NY 11791. Councilman Muscarella TOWN HALL 54 AUDREY AVENUE OYSTER BAY, NY 11771
John Rennhack December 06, 2011 at 01:24 AM
Also, I was told by a NCPD officer that there have been 14 robberies around the SS and Bethpage Pkwy in the last month.
ed December 06, 2011 at 06:36 PM
Kristen, if you look at your actual tax bill 7% of it pays for every single police officers salary, benefits, pensions, as well as police functions. 72% of my taxes go to schools. Lets keep this in perspective...you pay more a month for your cell phone than you do for police protection. Also0 Nassau cops unlike NYPD function not only as law enforcement but as EMT/First responders. They have two functions not one.
ed December 06, 2011 at 06:40 PM
John just to correct you those are burglaries not robberies. A Burglary is when someone enters a premise unlawfully. Robbery is theft or threat of by pyhsical force or with a weapon.
Dave December 06, 2011 at 10:17 PM
John- thank you. We received the same information as well. We mailed a letter yesterday describing what you said above. We just need to have more people get involved and send letters. We need to resolve this issue ASAP as 911 was called again TWICE for the area for suspicious activity. I will post additional information as well when we have more..... Thanks John!
Kristen Ferrari December 07, 2011 at 01:17 AM
Ed, don't misunderstand me and think I'm for cutting the police department. I was merely saying that with the financial crisis faced by this county, there are going to be cuts. I don't think Ed Mangano is at war with the police. I think he has a tough job ahead of him.
ed December 15, 2011 at 06:41 AM
Kristen pick up the long island press this week. Read the truth you certainly won't read in newsday about Ed manganos war on police while hiring hundreds of patronage hires.


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