The Massapequa Preserve is widely used by community residents and youth as a place to enjoy the natural beauty of the town especially during COVID-19. Unfortunately, it has been discovered that sometimes the preserve is not used in a positive way. With the help of a local parent, the Massapequa Takes Action Coalition (MTAC) was informed that youth and young adults have been loitering in the park after hours, engaging in risky behaviors and building structures in remote areas of the preserve. Working with its partners, the Nassau County Police Department, Nassau County Department of Parks and Recreation and the New York National Guard Counterdrug Task Force, MTAC has removed the structures to discourage use of the park after hours and illegal use of substances in the preserve. Furthermore, MTAC is hosting a walk through/cleanup event of the Massapequa Preserve on Saturday, April 17, from 9 a.m. to noon.
Since the collaboration, Problem Oriented Policing (POP) officers have increased their patrol of the Massapequa Preserve to show more law enforcement presence and deter youth from being in the preserve after hours. Recently, POP officers have been involved in taking down another structure in one of the chronic or hot spot areas of the Preserve. The National Guard’s recent environmental scans have found evidence of alcohol and drug use in the preserve. Testing of the drug paraphernalia found in the preserve has confirmed use of the drug THC, cocaine, heroin, ephedrine and methamphetamine. The New York National Guard will continue to conduct environmental scans of the Massapequa Preserve to document if any additional signs of drinking or drug use are present especially in the area known as chronic where it is evident that youth and young adults engage in risky behaviors.
“Increasing patrols in the Massapequa Preserve shows our youth and residents that we will not accept illegal activities in our parks. If you see something, say something. All residents are encouraged to call the Seventh Precinct at 516-573-6700 to report suspicious activity in the preserve,” the POP officer said.
“The National Guard supports coalitions across Long Island and will continue to support MTAC in their mission of reducing youth substance use,” explained Technical Sergeant Carissa Siry of the New York National Guard Counterdrug Task Force. “By reducing hotspot areas like the “chronic” area in the preserve, we can ensure our parks are a safe place for people to enjoy,”
MTAC, along with its partners, will be hosting the Saturday, April 17 event, where volunteers will be walking through these hot spot areas to clean up litter and drug paraphernalia. MTAC invites residents to attend the cleanup event to “Keep the Preserve Pristine” and work together to ensure the Massapequa Preserve continues to be a safe environment for community residents and their families.
To become a part of MTAC’s efforts and learn more about MTAC’s upcoming event at the Massapequa Preserve, visit www.mtacoalition.com or contact MTAC Project Coordinator Larissa Singh at 516-799-3203, ext. 132.
—Submitted by the Massapequa Takes Action Coalition