Readers Write: No need to reopen the 6th Pct.

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary.” H.L. Mencken

Charles Schneider’s letter in the Oct. 1 edition mentioned Sen. Philips’ supposed failure to get funding to reopen the Sixth Precinct.

Aside from the fact those funds might not have ever come from the state, as bad a county executive as Ed Mangano was, consolidating precincts to reduce the bloat in Nassau’s law enforcement apparatus was one of his best policy achievements. Aside from that, there is no need to reopen the precinct, unless you’re in favor of needlessly higher expenditures, which is one of the few things our County excels at.

But stoking fear of crime is the politician’s stock in trade, even though there isn’t much of it. And contrary to what you may believe, there’s little correlation to adding police presence and crime reduction. In point of fact, New York City has reduced its police force by 6,000 officers since 2000, and yet, crime in the city just keeps on trending down.

This has produced an ironic state of affairs:

New York State offers the entertainment industry huge tax breaks, about half a billion dollars a year, in fact, and the result of these incentives is that most of the crime dramas seen on television are filmed in New York. “Elementary,” “Bluebloods,” “Law and Order SVU,” et. al.,  are all shot in the five boroughs.

Crime has plummeted so far, it has now come to the point where there are more murders taking place in prime time than there are in a whole day in the real city it takes place in. Sometimes several days. You would think this would wind up hurting tourism, but apparently, not yet. And when it comes to crime, the Town of North Hempstead, particularly that part north of the Expressway, is hardly a hotbed of violence and thievery. Located a half mile away from North Shore Hospital, I don’t think anyone will get mugged by an internist.

And who could forget the “rally” Judi Bosworth staged in 2016 in front of the shuttered precinct, complete with a rent-a-crowd of town employees holding pre-printed signs, urging us not to put “public safety at risk,” and that the precinct “saved lives.” Which is, of course, rubbish.

So why needlessly reopen something that saved us $20 million in expenses?

A couple of reasons: it’s an easy sell and shows some cheap “concern” at little political expense, especially since we want our elected officials to be “tough” on crime, even when little of it exists. As Mencken wrote in 1923, “The normal American….majority goes to rest every night with an uneasy feeling that there is a burglar under the bed and he gets up every morning with a sickening fear that his underwear has been stolen.”

And the other reason is union votes. Opening the precinct brings bodies and returned favors to those who advocate for this waste of money. So for those who promote this waste of public funds, this is a lay-up. For the rest of us, it will show up in our tax bills as a reminder of the incentives rent-seeking presents in our county. When it comes to that crime, you’re on your own.


About the author

The Island Now

Share this Article