The Town of Babylon is holding two new public hearings on houses it is seeking to board up under its public nuisance law, bringing the number of cases to an all-time high since the law was revived seven years ago.
The town can board up homes and evict all occupants under the law, also known as the “crack house” law. It states that if multiple arrests for offenses such as drug possession occur within a year at a property, the town can declare it a public nuisance and take action.
The latest hearings are on homes in Deer Park and West Babylon.
In July, a Nicolls Road property in Deer Park was the site of an arrest for three counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance. In May that same individual was arrested at the home on two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance and criminal possession of a weapon.
In February, there was an arrest for criminal possession of a controlled substance at a property on Nassau Avenue in West Babylon. In April and May, nine other individuals were arrested on the same site for multiple counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance and criminal possession of a weapon.
The nuisance law was created at the height of the crack cocaine epidemic in the mid-1990s. The town aggressively went after homeowners and for a five-year period boarded up more than two dozen homes. But the law went largely unused by the town until 2013. From that year through most of 2019, there were only five properties that the town went after under the code. With these two latest hearings, the town has now pursued boarding up seven properties since November.
Town Supervisor Rich Schaffer said Babylon is ramping up its efforts because in working with Suffolk County police, they are now finding “bad characters” are going “back and forth” between problem houses.
“We’re finding a connection amongst the information the police are providing us,” he said. “We want these guys to know that anywhere they go, we will follow them and they’re not welcome here.”
The hearings are at 10 a.m. July 8 via a Zoom meeting.