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Brookhaven to weigh graffiti cleanup law

Under a new graffiti law proposed by Brookhaven Councilwoman Connie Kepert, owners of commercial businesses that have been victims of graffiti would have 48 hours to deal with the vandalism with free assistance from the town.

If the business owner declined the town’s offer, he or she would have five days to fix it or face a $150 fee.

“What we’re trying to do is get graffiti cleaned as quickly as possible,” Kepert said. In studies of other towns and cities fighting graffiti, she said, “the 48-hour period is the magic number. The recidivism doesn’t occur and your building doesn’t get hit again.”

The town will offer sandblasters and manpower from youth volunteers or inmates provided by the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office, she said.

The graffiti law would not apply to residential property. The current town law gives business owners 14 days to fix graffiti or face a $150 fine.

The proposal will be published and discussed at the May 24 board meeting.

Popular targets for graffiti include highway overpasses in Farmingville and the unoccupied storefronts in Port Jefferson Village, she said.

The state Department of Transportation deals with graffiti on road signs and property. But graffiti that shows up on vacant properties is still the responsibility of the building owner, she said.

Visibility is what graffiti vandals want, Kepert said. “They want their tags seen, so if it’s removed very quickly they will move on,” she said. “We are trying to encourage that.”

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