Nassau County Police officials said they will increase patrol members around the Village Green in Great Neck in response to residential complaints of loitering, public intoxication, and public urination.
Sixth precinct problem-oriented policing officer Joe Oginski said these problems have been present in the Great Neck community long before February and said it is not solely a Great Neck issue.
“I know myself and my colleagues have seen plenty of instances like this,” Oginski said. “We’ve addressed many residents about this for many years before this complaint. People expect to be safe and comfortable in this village and when they aren’t it’s our job to do more.”
The complaint was brought to the attention of the Village of Great Neck Board of Trustees Tuesday night by Judy Lillien, a Great Neck resident for more than 32 years.
Lillien said she has witnessed “disgusting” acts several times throughout February. The specific instance she discussed occurred on a weekday at 11 a.m next to the post office and convenience store on 661 Middle Neck Road.
According to Lillien, two gentlemen were openly drinking and one urinated on the side of the convenience store.
“There were two men, one decided to be a lookout, and one decided to leave some bodily fluids on the side of the building,” she said.
Village Mayor Pedram Bral and Deputy Mayor Bart Sobel said their families have been negatively affected by instances of public intoxication and loitering around the Village Green.
“I have seen those men drink, they have followed my wife, and it is getting scary sometimes,” Bral said. “When they verbally assault you it’s scary.”
“I have had verbal comments and I have felt threatened,” Sobel said. “Probably 12 years ago, somebody got their heads smashed into the window and there was glass and blood everywhere. My kid was then scarred by that.”
Village resident Rebecca Rosenblatt Gilliar said her interactions with the men that are “chronically in that location” have been pleasant. Gilliar said they help her carry boxes or anything else she may need assistance with.
“They are consistently helpful to me, so this is as much an enforceable issue as it is a people issue,” Gilliar said. “They hang out there because that is the only place they believe they can hang out.”
Jean Pierce, a village resident since 1961, said the issue comes down to a difference in cultures, and advised any Hispanic police officers or leaders in the Hispanic community, to come down and address the situation to these men.
“How these people are raised, and where they come from, that is what they know,” Pierce said. “In their language, they will relate to these people and tell them that they cannot do what they do here.”
Bral agreed that involving a leader from the Hispanic community would be a good idea.
Oginski said any new solutions from residents would be welcomed, so long as the safety of everyone involved is ensured.
“The safety of everyone is paramount,” Oginski said. “Our officers won’t disturb a conversation between residents, but we will certainly provide verbal warnings, and if measures call for it, issue citations to ensure these men or anyone else are not harassing any individuals.”
A correction has been made in regards to Judy Lillien’s comments of the race of the two men and the spelling of her last name.