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    In Babylon, Crack Down On Gang Violence
    By:Larry Swasey December 01, 2004
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    Dozens of people showed up last week at Babylon Town Hall to receive an update on how the town was fighting gang activity and what to do to help. On November 23 the town hosted Suffolk County Police Department gang experts, the town's Gang Task Force and probation officials, among others, according to Babylon Special Prosecutor Paul Margiotta.
    "We wanted people to know what they wear and the type of graffiti they use so not only can people stay away from them but so they will also be able to recognize gang activity," Margiotta said. He stated there has been some gang activity in town, but not as much as other areas, and it is best to make sure neighborhoods are aware of what to look for if this activity does materialize. "We were also bringing together people to share this information so those in the community and the civic groups can let us know about suspicious activities," Margiotta said. Nearly 60 residents showed up for the meeting, he noted.
    As an example of how a simple, low-key interaction with gang members can escalate, Margiotta said Suffolk County Police Lieutenant Thomas Kelly of the First Precinct relayed to the crowd the story of how a young teenage girl received more than 100 stitches after being slashed in the face by a gang member in a local mall earlier this year. He added that he hoped the information would help residents realize what a simple encounter can turn into when gang members are involved.
    The seminar last week also provided an update to the town's Gang Task Force activities, according to the town, as well as its future plans.
    Margiotta said this was just another part of the town's fight to stem the growth of gang activity in Babylon that has been seen in other parts of Suffolk County. The town has passed tougher graffiti laws that require the property owner to clean up the spray-painted scrawls quickly or be fined, and also enhanced the municipality's loitering code within the past year as part of the effort, he noted.

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