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Traumatized Town Seeks Community Cure

August 20, 2007

Solutions may soon be at hand for residents of greater Bellport, Long Island, a south shore community that attracted national attention with the recent drive-by murder of a North Bellport teenager who had just attended a “National Night Out Against Crime.”

Sarah Lansdale, with Sustainable Long Islanda, says a town hall meeting tonight will unveil new solutions for the civic crisis.

"We asked residents their vision for the future of their community. Residents will come out and see the product of their work; what architects and engineers and planners have done to interpret the community’s suggestions."

Over the past year, Sustainable Long Island and the Greater Bellport Coalition have been meeting with businesses, churches, legislators, residents and law enforcement to reduce crime in the south shore community that includes some of the Island’s richest and poorest residents.

Lansdale says bringing together diverse interest groups in a long-term crime reduction strategy is part of a new approach called a "community visioning process."

"There are three parts to it: one is the environment, the second is the victim, and the third is the criminal. And, if you’ve changed the environment, that first part, the victim and criminal will never cross paths."

The meeting will also address property renovation, employment opportunities and economic development in what has been described as one of Suffolk County’s most economically distressed communities.

Tonight’s town hall meeting begins at 7:00 pm at Bellport’s Board Of Cooperative Educational Services, 350 Martha Ave.

Robert Knight/Chris Thomas, Public News Service - NY