Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy used the first meeting of his anti-gang violence committee Monday to promise a crackdown on derelict housing and graffiti in Brentwood and Central Islip.

Levy, who announced the creation of the task force at a meeting last week with concerned residents in Brentwood, also said his group will work to provide more recreational opportunities for youths in the troubled Islip Town communities.

Brentwood and Central Islip - the site of 14 homicides since January 2009 - have been plagued by violent crime recently. Levy has been criticized by some for being slow to react to the killings. He has responded by adding patrols, implementing daily checkpoints in areas of high gang activity and creating the task force, which includes civic and religious leaders, and school officials.

"We're letting these folks know that criminal activity is not going to be tolerated," Levy said.

Levy said the county and Islip Town will work together to use nuisance laws to clean up properties that serve as crack houses and other hotbeds of crime. The local governments, which recently unveiled new anti-graffiti initiatives, also will work together to deal with overcrowded houses, Levy said.

Members of the task force, which will continue to meet regularly, are working on a plan to bring youth programs to the Central Islip campus of New York Institute of Technology, Levy said.

Police will also work to develop better rapport with business owners in the communities, and more Spanish-speaking officers will patrol the areas, Levy said.

Several community leaders and task force members, including Amparo Sadler, president of Central Islip Main Street Alliance, praised Levy's initiatives as "a first step" to combating violence in the communities.

"It's going to be a major hurdle," Sadler said. "Now we're trying to deal with it."

Some of Levy's constituents have criticized him for not attending two meetings on gang violence hosted by Suffolk Legis. Ricardo Montano (D-Central Islip) last month.

Montano, who described Levy as "slow to react" to gang violence in his district, did not attend Monday's meeting. He described the meeting as "good for the community," but said it remains to be seen whether Levy's efforts will reduce gang activity in his district.

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