Village of Hempstead Mayor Wayne Hall in Hempstead Village Hall....

Village of Hempstead Mayor Wayne Hall in Hempstead Village Hall. (Jan. 5, 2012) Credit: Newsday/Karen Wiles Stabile

Hempstead Village Mayor Wayne J. Hall touted a 7 percent decrease in crime as well as plans for the $2 billion downtown revitalization project to help revamp the Main Street area during his annual State of the Village address.

More than 200 people turned out Wednesday at the Hempstead Public Library to listen to Hall outline his vision and accomplishments, including what he called a turnaround in village finances.

Hall said village officials have increased nontax revenue, such as from cellular towers and parking field leases, and renegotiated contracts with the Police Benevolent Association and Civil Service Employees Association that resulted in immediate and long-term savings.

The recent addition of 25 officers helped lower violent crimes by 10 percent and property crimes by 4 percent in 2011, Hall said. Crime in the Terrace Avenue Apartments has fallen by 87 percent over the past four years, he said.

"I was happy to hear that the crime went down, but I had hoped those numbers were even higher," said Waylyn Hobbs Jr., a village resident for 49 years who lost a race last year for village trustee.

The village expects to launch soon two online services that will give residents access to an online crime map and allow them to provide anonymous tips to village police, Hall said. The village also is considering purchasing the ShotSpotter gunshot detection technology, he said.

"If he comes through . . . I'll be happy," said Reginal Lucas, president of the Hempstead Coordination Council of Civic Associations. "I think the ShotSpotter is very important."

Hall also discussed the downtown redevelopment plan, which will include infrastructure improvements, new housing and businesses, public open spaces, parking and entertainment. Negotiations are under way to include a community benefits agreement featuring a training and jobs program for local residents, he said.

"I just wished he would have talked more about ensuring that the community would be one of the first to benefit from the jobs," said Reginald Benjamin, executive director of ABBA Leadership Center, a nonprofit community group that helps former prisoners gain employment.

Hall also talked about efforts to block new bars or establishments that sell liquor, and said the village plans to install a 311 system by the end of the summer and restart the quality of life committee.

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