Nineteen new surveillance cameras will be installed in Huntington Station, allowing police to monitor activity in real time following two stabbings in the area and complaints from business owners about street safety.
The cameras are coming courtesy of a $180,000 state grant, which will also pay for upgrading cameras put in place over the past 15 years, officials said.
State Sen. Jim Gaughran (D-Northport) procured the money from the State and Municipal Facilities Program, after being approached by Democratic Huntington Town Board member Joan Cergol and members of the Huntington Station Business Improvement District (BID).
The grant will allow for new cameras in and outside the business improvement district and then allow officials to "have the ability to integrate all of these cameras through one system that can be accessed by everybody, most importantly the police,” Gaughran said.
Cergol said concern over two stabbings in Huntington Station earlier this year made the cameras a priority.
In January a 16-year-old boy was stabbed inside the Burger King in the Big H Shopping Center and then in April another teen was stabbed in the buttocks by three males on bicycles on the corner of Depot Road and First Avenue, where one of the new cameras is expected to be installed.
“I have been aware of the pressing need to upgrade the cameras,” Cergol said. “The stabbings this year underscored the urgency for them.”
In a statement, Suffolk County Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart said the cameras will benefit law enforcement, businesses and residents.
“Installing additional security cameras in Huntington Station is an important addition to our crime reduction strategy as we work to continue to drive crime down beyond historic lows,” Hart said. "This is a pivotal step as we continue to enhance our Real Time Crime Center’s ability to access surveillance in real time throughout the county.”
Steve Conte, president of the Huntington Station BID, said the zone includes areas north to the Big H Shopping Center, south to some streets to Jericho Turnpike, east to Depot Road and 17th Street and west to West Hills Road and Jericho Turnpike, and has 67 cameras that are operational but outdated. He said besides upgrading those cameras, he’s looking forward to cameras being added at the Five Corners intersection.
The regional leader of CVS Pharmacy, Chuck Klinkenberg, recently addressed the town board, expressing concerns about a store at the intersection where day laborers and other men congregate on the sidewalk.
“It’s going to be nice to get things updated,” Conte said. “It’s been a long time coming. This will make things more uniform and work better.”
Huntington Town Supervisor Chad Lupinacci said the new cameras, which will be monitored by police, will be a welcome addition.
“We expect the additional cameras to help our Department of Public Safety expand their abilities in assisting law enforcement as they address various issues facing the community,” he said.
The BID and town will decide the new locations of the cameras, Gaughran’s office said. The money should be available to the BID by January so that a contract can be put out for competitive bid.