A string of burglaries in Manhasset Hills and lingering questions about police precinct consolidation were among topics to be covered Wednesday at an open community forum with Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth and Inspector Sean McCarthy, the commanding officer of the 3rd Precinct, McCarthy said.
The Nassau County Police Department has investigated a pattern of burglaries near Manhasset Hills along the Long Island Expressway and Northern State Parkway for about a year, McCarthy said.
In 2012, Nassau’s 3rd Precinct in New Hyde Park merged with its 6th Precinct in Manhasset and Great Neck as part of a consolidation plan to save the county $20 million. The 6th precinct remained open as a community policing center, but command was transferred to the 3rd Precinct.
The forum, scheduled for March 11 at 7 p.m. at Clinton G. Martin Park, is sponsored by the Town of North Hempstead. After remarks by Bosworth and a presentation by McCarthy, the forum will be opened to questions from the public, a town spokesman said.
“I believe it is vitally important that elected officials and local law enforcement agencies work together when it comes to communicating with residents on public safety issues,” Bosworth said. “This forum will be a unique opportunity for our residents to learn safety tips from their local police representatives and to ask questions about any safety concerns they might have in their community.”
McCarthy said many of the burglaries have been clustered in the area between New Hyde Park Road and Shelter Rock Road, north of Hillside Avenue on the east and Marcus Avenue on the west.
He said the police department believes a number of the burglaries were carried out by the same group or groups of well-organized individuals.
“We believe a significant portion of those robberies were related,” he said.
The majority of the burglaries occur between 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Friday or Saturday while houses are unoccupied, especially on holiday or long weekends, McCarthy said.
He said that in general the burglars ransack the master bedroom for cash and jewelry, looking to get in and out in about two to four minutes. They try to avoid conflict, he said.
“The vast majority are unoccupied, middle-of-the-day burglaries,” McCarthy said. “These people are not seeking confrontation.”
He said the burglaries have “slowed down but did not go away” since an arrest in early November.
McCarthy said that at the forum he would provide a list of “low-to-no-cost” actions people can take to make their homes less attractive, including locking doors, asking neighbors to watch your house when away and using motion-sensor and timed lights.
He said the forum would also provide him an opportunity to introduce himself to the community and answer questions about precinct consolidation, which he said people still ask about.
“Lots of people still don’t know who I am and have questions about precinct consolidation,” he said.
Marianna Wohlgemuth, the former president of the Lakeville Estates Civic Association, said she would like to ask about reinstating the Problem Oriented Police officers and stricter traffic enforcement in residential neighborhoods.
She said POP officers act as an effective liaison between the force and community, especially for non-emergency calls, such as petty vandalism, where residents may be hesitant to dial 911.
“That’s really critical to maintaining confidence in the police force,” she said.
Wohlgemuth also said that residential streets need more frequent enforcement of traffic violations, like speeding and rolling stop signs.
“We just don’t have enough police cars on the streets,” she said.