Levittown Chamber of Commerce President Kevin Regan, resident Herb Gold, Supervisor Murray, Councilman Hudes, Commanding Officer Mitchell and Detective Valdes unveil the Town's first "This is a Graffiti Watch Neighborhood" sign.
Flanked by more than 100 pieces of Town property that have been vandalized by graffiti during the month of August, Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray and Councilman Gary Hudes joined with the Levittown School District, Chamber of Commerce and 8th Precinct to step up efforts to eradicate such vandalism.
Referring to the graffiti strewn across the traffic, parking and other municipal signs as the "scourge of the suburbs," Supervisor Murray vowed to eradicate such vandalism by joining forces with the local community.
"Graffiti hurts our neighborhoods and the town has a Zero Tolerance policy concerning this crime," she added. "We are working aggressively with the police, residents, schools, businesses and others to catch those who are scrawling graffiti in our area. We will use every tool at our disposal to win the war on graffiti."
Over the past month, the Town has replaced or cleaned approximately 125 signs that have been defaced and destroyed.
"Replacing and repairing all of these vandalized signs could cost the Town over $20,000," she added. "Perhaps more startling, most of this damage has occurred over a one-month period. But this is not the only cost associated with vandalism. Schools have been hit, local businesses have been victimized and residents' homes have been defaced."
Levittown resident Herb Gold's wooden fence was recently vandalized with graffiti. The tag "RWK" was scrawled across his fence in big red letters. Since then Gold and other neighbors have banned together to form a graffiti watch effort.
"We've been making the rounds by car and walking around," he said. "Neighbors are on different shifts. We've been more or less keeping our eyes open, seeing if we can find someone who's doing it."
Additionally Councilman Hudes has been working on a project with local Boy and Cub Scouts in which they locate areas that vandalism is not covered by any other clean up law, obtain a release from the homeowner and repaint the area.
"The only way you can get it done is by other people volunteering," Councilman Hudes said.
Supervisor Murray and Councilman Hudes outlined a plan to increase public awareness, rewards for reporting graffiti and establish graffiti watch neighborhoods.
• Call 911 to report graffiti in progress.
• To provide a tip, if you believe you know a person who is committing graffiti, call Crime Stoppers at 800-244-TIPS. Your information can be kept confidential, and if a vandal is caught and convicted, the Levittown Chamber of Commerce and Crime Stopper can provide a reward.
• Recognize the signs that a loved one may be involved in graffiti vandalism (books with graffiti tags on them, graffiti on personal property and in bedrooms, pictures of graffiti, etc.)
• If you would like to get involved in establishing a graffiti watch neighborhood, call Councilman Hudes' office at 812-3200.
( If you see graffiti on a business that is not being removed/cleaned, call the Town's helpline at 489-6000. Building inspectors will alert owners of their legal obligation to remove graffiti from their property.
"Graffiti is a serious problem that adversely impacts communities and neighborhoods," concluded Supervisor Murray. "We need every resident to get involved and keep a vigilant watch for graffiti vandals."
"We have all moved here for a better quality of life and that can't happen if we allow these criminals craving some sick, misguided recognition to destroy our suburban way of life," added Councilman Hudes.