Tag, you’re it.
About 60 percent of mailboxes in Woodhaven are tagged right now, according to Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association (WRBA) president Ed Wendell. By the end of last summer, nearly, if not all, mailboxes and fire poles in the neighborhood were graffiti-free, he said.
But during the winter, when Wendell said it’s harder to do cleanups, the vandals went back to make their mark on their favorite “canvas,” USPS mailboxes.
“It’s not really good painting weather,” he said. “You just do your best. When the springtime comes, you just do it all again over.”
Captain Elwood Selover, head of the Citywide Vandals Task Force, spoke to the 102nd Precinct Community Council on Tuesday, March 19 about how the NYPD combats graffiti.
While it’s considered a relatively minor crime, Selover said graffiti in a neighborhood can give a certain feel of lawlessness. By tracking certain marks, the division has been able to arrest taggers for up to 100 charges, he said, across several boroughs.
Captain Elwood Selover at the 102nd Precinct Community Council meeting about graffiti.
“The little things take care of the big things,” Selover said. “People are doing jail time for it.”
Because vandals traditionally like to have their own tags, the unit has been able to track handwriting, and determine which are gang related.
Wendell said he hopes to have Selover or someone from the unit speak at a WRBA meeting soon so residents can get an idea of how the NYPD tracks taggers. He said he and other WRBA members will start going out and repainting mailboxes when the weather gets warmer.
“When you leave it alone,” he said, “You’re telling the people who did this ‘We’re not serious about enforcing it.’”