Village To Enact Aggressive Panhandling Law

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The Mineola Long Island Rail Road Train Station (Photo by Rich Forestano)

Mayor Scott Strauss and the village board recently attended the Third Precinct Community Conference at Mineola Middle School. At the conference, Inspector Daniel Flanagan of the Third Precinct reported that auto larcenies were the number one crime in Nassau County and the number one place where those crimes occurred was in gym parking lots.

It seems that the thieves are catching on. Last year, most robberies occurred in gym lockers.

“They know everybody is leaving their stuff in their cars now,” said trustee George Durham at last Wednesday’s board meeting. “Make sure you lock your cars because that stops a lot of the larcenies.”

Trustee Dennis Walsh said someone broke into his car recently because he also forgot to lock his car.

“The police who responded told me that the reason why they break into cars in Mineola and Williston Park is because people don’t lock their cars [in the village],” explained Walsh. “It used to be a problem in Hempstead but it doesn’t occur there anymore because people started locking their cars. Lock your car doors and don’t be ridiculous and leave it open.”

Besides auto larcenies becoming a problem for residents in Mineola, the homeless at the Mineola train station who aggressively panhandle are also becoming a nuisance. It is not a crime in New York State to aggressively panhandle for money.

“You shouldn’t give any money to people who ask you for it, no matter how needy they appear to be,” said Walsh who suggested that if people want to help the homeless, they should donate to the Mary Brennan INN in Hempstead. “If you give money to people at the Mineola train station, you’re only encouraging them. You don’t help aggressive panhandlers by giving them money.”

Dovetailing off Walsh, Strauss announced at the board meeting that on Wednesday, May 16, the village board will hold a hearing on an aggressive panhandling law for the village.
“We’re trying to combat the issue,” said Strauss. “If it’s not on the state’s books, we’ll put it on ours. We need to work this through as quickly as we can and address the issue to all extents.”

Strauss also told residents to call 911 to report any and all cases. If residents only call the Third Precinct, the cases go unreported to the village.

“Don’t call anybody else if you have a police matter,” said Strauss. “If you have a parking concern, please call 911. You’re not taking a car away from a high priority call. The calls will be stacked.”

Also at the meeting, the board congratulated deputy mayor Paul Pereira for 25 years of teaching at the Mineola School District.

The next village board meeting will be Wednesday, May 9, at 6:30 p.m. at Village Hall.

Have you had any problems with aggressive panhandlers at the Mineola train station? Share your experience with me by email at: amurray@antonmediagroup.com

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