Nassau County police are stepping up traffic law enforcement this year to crack down on reckless and distracted driving, the 3rd Police Precinct commander said Wednesday.
Police have issued more traffic tickets in the first three months of this year year compared to the same period in 2016, as Highway Patrol and beat officers try to emphasize road safety, said Inspector Daniel Flanagan, who has led the 3rd Precinct since January.
But there was an uptick in pedestrian deaths in February for the precinct, which stretches from Manorhaven south to East Garden City and from New Hyde Park east to New Cassel.
“Pedestrian safety and motorist safety is our top priority,” Flanagan said at a public forum Wednesday night at Mineola High School.
Several people in the crowd of about 70 raised particular concerns about speeding and traffic safety in their neighborhoods. Those worries are among the most common in the precinct, Flanagan said.
Joseph Lloyd of Garden City Park said cars regularly speed through his neighborhood to avoid the stoplight at the intersection of Herricks Road and Jericho Turnpike.
“Everybody’s flying, and the kids are trying to play in the summer or they’re at the bus stops in the afternoon,” Lloyd said.
Officers from the Police Department’s Problem-Oriented Police unit, who address specific community concerns, wrote down the intersections and roads about which residents complained.
Cops will also work with local officials to create “long-term solutions” on streets regularly used as shortcuts between thoroughfares, Flanagan said.
3rd Precinct cops are also working to stem the tide of thefts of valuables from cars and of cars themselves, Flanagan said.
Car thefts are up 32 percent this year compared to the same period in 2016, and larcenies from autos account for one third of all larcenies in the 3rd Precinct, Flanagan said. He encouraged residents to lock their cars and not leave valuables inside.
“This is 100 percent preventable — just take your stuff our of your car and it’s not going to get stolen,” Flanagan said.
Total crime in the precinct is down 2 percent so far this year compared to 2016, with major crimes, the most serious offenses, down 4 percent, Flanagan said. Burglaries have dropped 28 percent.
Flanagan, who was previously commanding officer of the 1st Precinct in Baldwin, said he has held several community forums to hear local concerns since taking his new position. He plans to hold them regularly throughout his tenure, he said.