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Business group fights graffiti

Kevin Seck and his son Bobby, both members

Kevin Seck and his son Bobby, both members of The Entrepeneur's Grou, a small Westbury-based organization that owns property along Stewart Avenue which has a lot of graffiti painted fences, is looking to sponsor the roadway in the hopes that installing cameras and hiring a contractor to maintain the area will help deter further graffiti. (April 25, 2012) Credit: Newsday/Audrey C. Tiernan

Graffiti vandalism has been targeted for removal by a group of business owners along a two-mile stretch of Stewart Avenue running from Westbury to Hicksville.

Kevin Seck, of Westbury, a member of the Entrepreneur's Group -- 12 local businesspeople that own property along the roadway from Newbridge Road to Eisenhower Park, said they wanted to get rid of the drawings sprayed illicitly on publicly accessible surfaces.

"We were just fed up of seeing this," said Seck, 57, who along with his son, Bobby, 29, is spearheading the anti-graffiti initiative. "I have to drive by the area five times a day and I was sick of it."

The group hired a contractor in April to maintain the area. So far, cartoons and tags -- which show the spray painter's name -- have been repainted at more than 26 locations, Kevin Seck said.

The graffiti was on surfaces such as utility poles, fences and street overpasses. Seck said any areas re-vandalized were painted over again.

The group also installed two high-definition cameras with night vision capabilities in high-incidence areas in hopes that they will help deter graffiti culprits, Seck said.

"We just want people to know that there are cameras there and these troubled areas are under surveillance," said Seck, owner of Westbury-based Stewart Plaza LTD, a family business that sells and leases rental properties.

Hempstead Town passed a law in April 2009 calling for civil penalties of up to $5,000 for vandals and requiring commercial property owners to remove graffiti on their premises. In New York State, graffiti is considered criminal mischief and is punishable as a misdemeanor.

Those caught spraying graffiti also could face a fine and a jail sentence.

"It is inspiring when business owners and other members of the community step forward to help make our neighborhoods better places in which to live," town Supervisor Kate Murray said in a statement. "By eradicating graffiti, these business owners are enhancing the local quality of life and beautifying the township for area residents."

The group plans to expand its efforts to Carman Avenue, from Hempstead Turnpike in East Meadow to Old Country Road in Westbury, Seck said. It also plans to clean up graffiti on the Levittown Parkway from West Old Country Road to Newbridge Road in Levittown.

"We are hoping these types of positive programs become contagious within the community," he said. "We are going to keep going and keep doing it so nobody will do this again."

Anyone that offers a tip to the group or incriminating evidence, such as a photo, will be paid an undisclosed reward, Kevin Seck said.

Potential tipsters are encouraged to email Kevin Seck at Stewartplazaltd@yahoo.com or notify the Nassau County Police Department's Crime Stoppers at 800-244-TIPS.

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