Written by Betsy Abraham Wednesday, 26 June 2013 00:00
Bill Baffi, general manager of Flowers by Carole, was greeted by an unwelcome surprise on the back of his store when he came into work a couple of weeks ago — two blotches of yellow and green graffiti on the back and side walls.
“I couldn’t believe someone did this. It’s annoying,” Baffi said.
Westbury residents and business owners have been noticing a rash of vandalism recently, as graffiti has shown up on signs, buildings, utility boxes and various other spots throughout the village.
There have been about 24 incidents in the past three weeks; they usually take place on weekend nights. Mayor Peter Cavallaro says this type of vandalism is not unusual as the weather gets warmer and that the village is working with the Nassau County Police Department to identify the culprits.
“We want to make sure it stops and nip it in the bud before it gets out of hand,” Cavallaro said. “It’s hard because unless you catch them in the act you can’t get them.”
The Rite Aid on Post Avenue, Westbury water tower and various stop signs are among the public and private spots in the village that have been hit. The asset owners are responsible for painting over the graffiti and Cavallaro said the village has seen a very good response by storeowners in cleaning up. The village is responsible for graffiti on public signs and public buildings.
This isn’t the first time Baffi has seen this type of vandalism. There is still blue paint on a side door from a few years ago. This year’s graffiti is especially annoying for him because it is on two walls, which requires that both surfaces be completely repainted.
“It’s going to be work to fix and blend it. It’s costing me my time and effort,” Baffi said. “It’s not art. It’s just tagging and it shouldn’t happen.”
And for Baffi, graffiti is just one of a number of vandalism issues. He says that he has found human feces and litter, including beer bottles and hypodermic needles, outside the back of the store on numerous occasions over the years. Baffi has to rely on the NCPD for security, as installing exterior cameras can be very expensive—and just offers vandals another target.
“Unless business is flourishing, it’s not really an option,” Baffi says.
But Colleen Hanrahan, owner of Scheurer Monuments at 23 Post Ave., says she’s never had any major problems.
“Sometimes we get beer bottles in the back, but we usually just throw them out,” Hanrahan said. “It seems pretty well controlled, I usually see (patrol) cars driving around. From what I hear it’s not too big of a problem.”