At the Dec. 16 Village of East Hills Board of Trustees meeting, over 100 residents were in attendance to discuss recent incidents and the means to further deter crime in East Hills.
Traditionally, and even this year, East Hills, village officials said, has had a very low crime rate. However, within the last month, two incidents have prompted serious concern. The two criminal incidents involved a burglary in a home, where the police almost captured the burglar, and a robbery where the resident was followed home from Wheatley Plaza.
Inspector John Berry, the commanding officer of the Third Precinct reviewed the two incidents. He then talked about the police action that was, and will be taken, to catch the criminals. He also spoke about deterrence and how residents can help by being vigilant and reporting suspicious activity.
“We will never be able to eliminate all crime,” he said, but he cited any added means to helping to reduce crime, including a security department and signage all help. He stressed that homeowners should keep their homes well lit, their shrubs low and to use alarms. Any crime, he stressed, is too much crime, but to put things in perspective, East Hills experienced a crime spurt over the last two weeks, but this, he added, can by no means be considered a crime spree.
Berry added that the police were on the scene so quickly that they nearly caught the first burglar and were on the scene of the second residence within four minutes.
Mayor Michael R. Koblenz spoke about the village’s response to crime, its history of low crime, and the new and additional steps which will be taken or considered. They include:
• Creating a text-based system for those who want texts sent to them as soon as information on crimes or emergencies is confirmed; (The village presently uses emails which are sent out within minutes of when the facts are confirmed with the police). Village officials will need cell numbers in order to text information;
• Considering new legislation to mandate minimum lighting standards for new homes and advisory lighting for existing residences;
• Considering the installation of security cameras at the entrances of the village;
• Reconstituting the village security committee. The first members were appointed and include Steve Mussman, Mark Spector and Donna Friedman. If you are interested in joining this committee, residents should email us at email@example.com
Koblenz noted that forming a village police force or providing additional street lighting would require higher taxes. “The board and I have frozen taxes for the past six years and I hope that we can implement changes without adding a greater tax burden on our residents,” he said.
If anyone would like to discuss any of these ideas further, they are urged to contact the mayor and/or the board of trustees anytime. Emails are available on the village website and on the village’s Facebook page.