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Suffolk pol pushes crack-house legislation

Suffolk should crack down on absentee crack house landlords, said Legis. Kate Browning, who wants the county to punish property owners who allow drug dealing from their homes.

Browning's legislation would require police to alert property owners and the Legislature within 30 days of any violation and extend to three years the period in which multiple violations would lead to civil penalties against the landlord.

Browning (WF-Shirley) said the legislation is necessary because crack houses are operating in her district without her knowledge.

"If I'm not getting that information, it's not helping me to stay on top of it," she said. "I am concerned about whether the law is being enforced the way it needs to be. There's not a day goes by we don't get a complaint about a home."

Existing Suffolk law now covers violations for drug and firearm possession that take place in a house. The law dictates that the county can seek civil penalties and eviction against landlords who allow crack houses to operate.

Browning said crack house problems are most acute in communities like North Bellport, where there have been three shootings in the last six weeks, including one Wednesday night.

"We really need this," she said. "It's a tool that we need to be using to go after these homes where we have drug dealers and gang members living in them."

The legislation is due to go to a public hearing April 27 and go before the Public Safety Committee May 11. County Executive Steve Levy is reviewing the proposal, his spokesman said.

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