It seems the requests of some Southampton Town community members have not fallen on deaf ears.
After residents from the Flanders-Riverside-Northampton area demanded an increased police presence from the Town Board and continued to express their frustrations over a recent crime wave, they are finally getting their wishes: A new plan is already in practice to ensure that at least two squad cars are in the northwestern section of town at all times.
Starting last Wednesday, Southampton police are keeping one squad car in the Flanders area and one in the Riverside-Northampton area during evening hours, said Police Chief Robert Pearce. Additionally, whenever the Community Response Unit is staffed, it will be stationed in the area as well.
“It’s a huge relief, and it’s such a testament to the good that can come out of our hamlet working together,” said Ron Fisher, president of the Bayview Pines Civic Association. “The quality-of-life issues that they’re addressing are what we’ve been [requesting] for three months, and now they’re doing it. It’s wonderful.”
Community members had been demanding greater police presence in the town’s northwestern neighborhoods after a string of crimes, including more than 70 car break-ins, a home invasion and a murder.
Southampton Town had initially unveiled a plan to reshuffle resources and increase staffing for the CRU, but that will not take place until mid-January and some residents were concerned it was not enough. Now, they are happy that something is being done immediately.
“We had people from everywhere come to that Town Board meeting [on Nov. 24] and ask the board for more help,” Mr. Fisher said. “Clearly it worked.”
Chief Pearce also said the Town Board allocated money in its 2016 budget to hire two additional police officers, one of which has already joined the force. The plan announced in November will move patrol officers to 12-hour shifts and allocate six officers to the CRU.
“The more resources I have, the greater the ability to have two units in the [Flanders-Riverside-Northampton] area at all times,” the chief said. “The union is very supportive of it. I’m supportive of it. Hopefully it works out.”
Mr. Fisher said he’s already feeling the effects of the added police cars in the area.
“It actually went into effect last Wednesday,” he said. “So already, people have noticed an increase in police presence. I myself noticed a police car patrolling Old Quogue Road, patrolling south of [Route] 24, north of [Route] 24, in and out of neighborhoods.”
He praised Chief Pearce for the work put into meeting the community’s needs.
“Chief Pearce and the [Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association] were really supportive,” he said. “They understood the need for policing and they agreed with us. It was just a matter of getting support from the board.”