Riverside, Flanders and Northampton residents had a rough stretch at the end of 2015.
Car after car was vandalized across the area — over 60 break-ins ended up being reported. An armed robbery occurred at a home. Someone was even shot and killed on the street in Riverside. An informal night watch was formed as frightened residents appealed to the town for help.
Amid all this, many suggested that a proposal to pull a trooper from the desk at the state police barracks was yet another indication that the area was being neglected. The black sheep of ritzy Southampton Town deserved more attention, they said — and this editorial board agreed.
And, to their credit, the town and the state police have been responsive.
Southampton Police Chief Robert Pearce’s report last week noting the success of increased patrols is encouraging. With the aid of state and county police, progress in making arrests in the area seems to have resulted as community patrols have been beefed up, which is clearly necessary.
The success of Riverside, Flanders and Northampton needs to be a long-term priority for Southampton Town — “long-term” being the key phrase.
Yes, an ongoing Riverside redevelopment project should eventually help raise up part of the area. But until that — and more — occurs, town leaders, police officials and residents must remain in constant communication to ensure that taxpayers feel safe in the area and others want to invest there.
Let’s keep things moving in that direction.