In the wake of the June 17 stabbing of 39-year-old Benjamin Flores-Mendez, who was found dead in Port Jefferson Station on the Greenway Trail, new precautions are being taken to help make residents feel safer when exercising alone.
To make the Greenway Trail safer, Legislator Kara Hahn (D-Setauket) requested cameras on the trail, bike patrols during the day and sector car patrols at night. As a result of Hahn’s push for better safety, cameras and new patrols are already in place
“As a Suffolk County resident, parent and legislator, public safety is always top of mind, and if I’m sent to Congress, that will continue,” Hahn said. “I’m proud of my work to keep our communities safe, like investing in security cameras and additional patrols in crime-prone areas and would welcome any new opportunities to expand on those efforts.”
As part of a women’s running group herself, Hahn advocates running with a partner and recommends using trails during daylight hours.
According to Herb Mones, chair of the Three Village Civic Association land use committee, the Greenway Trail is the most used recreational area in the community.
Although this is the first reported incident of this type, Mones was still disheartened to learn the news.
“Being part of the trail’s initial planning, and still active in its stewardship, I was shocked to see violence occur on the trail,” Mones said. “This corridor is a place for people to enjoy, and it is sad to see a loss of life on this path.”
Suffolk County police have stepped up their patrols on the trail and, with Hahn’s support, the implementation of security cameras will help deter any suspicious activity.
“It is important for trail users to report any suspicious behavior, and refrain from being out on the trail at nighttime when there is less likelihood to observe your surroundings,” Hahn said, adding that it is illegal to be on the trail between dusk and dawn.