Public safety meeting offers tips to residents


Residents from Legislator Tom McKevitt’s 13th district made their way to the East Meadow library on March 7 for a public safety meeting. Nassau County police officers from the first and third precincts were in attendance as well. Residents were encouraged to ask questions.

Topics discussed included current crime trends and steps that residents can take to better protect themselves, their home and property, and their family.

McKevitt started off the meeting by joking with the attendees about how his wife begged him for years to get ring doorbell. “From my perspective, the worst device invented for a politician in this universe was the ring doorbell,” McKevitt joked.

But, not feeling safe anymore is what ultimately led him to get one.

“The reason I had to get it is I just don’t feel safe in East Meadow anymore,” he said. “That shouldn’t be the case. I’ve lived here for 51 years.”

McKevitt reminded residents, though, that this meeting was not to scare them, just to provide some tips.

Major crime in Nassau County is up 41 percent from 2021-22, McKevitt said. With grand larceny up 43 percent, and auto thefts up 72 percent.

“Over $1.1 billion a year on the (Nassau County) police department,” he said. “From my perspective, the most important thing government does is keeping people safe, and we have the best department to do that to keep it safe.”

Inspector Joseph Guerra, commanding officer of the first precinct, pointed out that Nassau County is the safest county in America. “Comparatively speaking to other counties, compared to New York City, our bordering counties and stuff,” Guerra said. “We still have crime very low, and you are in a very safe county. The thing is that we want to keep it that way.”

Guerra pointed out that residents should not leave their cars unlocked and keys in their cars. He also mentioned the uptick in catalytic convertor thefts and said that he has his detail officers and problem-oriented police on the case.

Guerra discussed bail reform as part of the problem. “People think that you have to show that you got larceny arrests,” Guerra said. “No, it’s the drug arrests. The drugs bring the crime. A lot of this stuff is people supporting habits.”

In terms of repeat offenders, he said that his officers keep track of them, and have files on them.

Another big topic that came up at the meeting was the Coliseum Inn on Hempstead Turnpike. “We’ve been very busy, that’s just one part of our day,” Guerra said. “We’re having cooperation from the hotel, whereas we didn’t get it before.”

McKevitt explained that he, along with police, have been trying to get the Coliseum Inn closed for years.

One frustrated resident shared his concern about the crime that comes out of the Inn. He said that he has daughters who come home late from work, and he’s afraid of what could happen.

“It’s definitely a very serious conversation,” McKevitt said. “I agree, we can’t do it overnight, I wish we could.”

Guerra said that officers are watching the outside of the Inn.

Michael Shea, an officer from the first precinct, told the audience about some recent arrests, including shoplifters, gas station robberies, and more. He said to make sure to turn off your car at gas stations, lock them, and take your keys with you.

“We’re good people,” he said. “But the bad guys are out there let’s not make it easy on them.”

Another crime that residents should be on the lookout for, he said, is phone scams.

Shea said that the first precinct’s biggest tip is when residents call in to report crimes. “Tell your neighbors,” he said, “that if they call the precinct, they don’t have to leave a name.”

At the end of it all, Guerra reminded residents that he’s committed to their safety. “I won’t retire because it’s a passion for me,” he said. “I will tell you this right now, we have committed to use whatever tools we have.”