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Lawmaker says increased MTA presence at Babylon train station not enough

There have been reports of harassment from panhandlers,

There have been reports of harassment from panhandlers, drug and alcohol use and the presence of homeless people at the Babylon LIRR station, lawmakers say.   Credit: Newsday/Steve Pfost

Despite an increase in MTA police patrols at the Babylon train station, a lawmaker is organizing a rally Friday to call on the state agency to add even more police.

In January, Sen. Phil Boyle (R-Bay Shore) and Assemb. Mike LiPetri (R-Massapequa), among others, complained of reports of harassment from panhandlers, drug and alcohol use and the presence of homeless people at the Long Island Rail Road station in Babylon Village.

In response, the MTA added uniformed and plainclothes police officers.

“The LIRR and MTA Police take very seriously the safety of its customers while on our trains as well as while in our stations,” an MTA representative said Wednesday. “Senior LIRR and MTA Police officials have been working with local elected officials regarding Babylon station, and have taken several steps to increase police presence there, which has proved effective. We look forward to continuing the dialogue with this community to ensure that all LIRR customers feel safe and at ease while using our facilities.”

An unspecified number of plainclothes and uniformed police officers are stationed to the fixed post at the Babylon train station, the MTA said without specifying during which hours.

MTA police and LIRR staff monitor security cameras at the Babylon station, and police who ride the train throughout the day, get off and walk around, the agency said.

Babylon village code enforcement officers also issue tickets for violations like smoking on the platform.

LiPetri is organizing a rally at the train station Friday at 6 p.m. because he says what the MTA has done so far is not enough.

“That’s not sufficient to me, that’s not satisfactory,” he said.

He said the station needs visible uniformed police officers.

Suffolk police have reported receiving no increase in calls about the Babylon station. MTA Police patrol 124 LIRR stations, including Penn Station and Jamaica Station. An MTA spokesman said in January crime across the stations is at a 20-year low.

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