Officers of the Nassau County Police Department Third Precinct gave area residents tips on preventing burglaries along with current crime statistics and an advisory on the fast food “machete” bandit they’re currently pursuing during a public forum last Wednesday night at Mineola High School.
Inspector Daniel Flanagan, Third Precinct commanding officer, opened the forum with a brief summation of 2017 crime statistics, noting that major crime in the precinct is down four percent compared to last year at this same point, with total crime in the precinct down by 2 percent.
Flanagan said there has been a 17 percent drop in robberies this year and a 22 percent drop in burglaries, while auto thefts and felony assaults have been on the increase.
“Each command has intelligence analysts so they’re looking at this on a daily basis,” Flanagan said.
Flanagan said the easiest way of preventing auto thefts is to keep cars locked when parked and the best way to prevent auto break-ins is to not leave valuables in plain sight.
“We have a lot of larcenies from autos and a lot of larcenies in general,” Flanagan said.
Todd Atkin, problem-oriented police officer from the Third Precinct, offered the audience of approximately 60 area residents and village officials at the forum advice on methods of preventing or foiling house burglars—beginning with the most basic point.
“Walk around and look for places a burglar might enter,” Atkin said.
He suggested checking windows for faulty locks and sliding doors that might easily be knocked off their tracks as possible points of entry. He also said people should make a point of keeping lights on when they’re not at home and, if possible, keeping a radio on using a timer to turn it on and off randomly.
Atkin said jewelry should not be kept in bedrooms, but rather bagged in the icebox or stored in the basement. He also suggested taking photos of jewelry so that it could be identified if it is stolen.
He advised against leaving garbage in trash containers for curbside pickup, rather encouraging use of trash bags, since the empty trash containers are an obvious indicator that no one is home. When absent from the household on trips, Atkin said residents should stop mail delivery and not order packages that might be delivered while no one is home.
He said would-be burglars often case promising neighborhoods in high end cars and are typically well dressed to avoid drawing attention to themselves. If suspicious cars are observed in a neighborhood, he advised calling the police and not confronting anyone or attempting to take pictures of vehicles.
In response to a question from a resident about the machete-wielding robber who recently held up a Carvel store in Westbury, Flanagan said the NCPD has detectives and plain clothes officers working on the case.
“We’re confident we’re going to get him,” Flanagan said of the robber who has also been linked to recent hold-ups at an ice cream store in Bethpage and a Dunkin’ Donuts in Seaford.
Flanagan advised exercising caution before entering any fast food business, and avoiding locations that don’t draw many customers.
“Any kind of fast food place can be targeted. Take a look around,” Flanagan said.
Responding to one resident’s complaint about drivers using local roads as “cut-throughs” in the neighborhood between Herricks Road and Nassau Boulevard, Flanagan said the Third Precinct is “going to come up with a long term solution to people using neighborhoods as a cut-through.”
When one resident complained about the excessive speed of traffic on Old Country Road, Flanagan said the respective villages that border it “are constantly looking at ways to slow people down.”
Asked how the police are addressing the illicit use of opioids on Long Island, Flanagan said the NCPD has established an opioid task force to deal with the increased incidence of deaths in the region due to opioids coming in “from all over the country.”
Flanagan said the county now has Narcan nasal spray kits available to residents who want training to prevent opioid overdoses.