114th Pct. leads graffiti war; Astoria, LIC successful in fighting surge in vandalism: Vallone

By Nathan Duke

Graffiti vandalism has risen by an estimated 82 percent in the borough during the past two years, representing a citywide spike, and western Queens police precincts have led the way in busting vandals, City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria) said.

But western Queens' 104th and 114th Precincts have led the way during the past two years for citywide graffiti-related busts.

Between 2006 and 2007, graffiti-related complaints in the city increased a whopping 81.5 percent and vandalism arrests rose 23 percent, said Vallone, the City Council's Public Safety chairman and a longtime opponent of graffiti.

Graffiti complaints soared 84 percent in Queens North between 2006 and 2007, while arrests for vandalism rose 11 percent during that period of time in the precinct, according to police statistics. Queens North covers the 104th, 108th, 109th, 110th, 111th, 112th, 114th and 115th precincts.

Graffiti-related incidents were up 80 percentin Queens South, while arrests were up 17 percent, Vallone said. Queens South covers the 100th, 101st, 102nd, 103rd, 104th, 105th, 106th, 107th and 113th precincts.

Western Queens precincts had the most success during the past two years in busting graffiti vandals, the councilman said.

The 104th Precinct, which covers Maspeth, Middle Village, Glendale and Ridgewood, ranked first in the city for vandalism arrests last year with 131 busts, up 23 from the previous year, according to police statistics.

The 114th Precinct, which covers Astoria, Long Island City and sections of Woodside and Jackson Heights, ranked second in the city for arrests in 2007 with 126 busts, down two from the previous year, Vallone said.

The councilman said police have been pursuing graffiti vandals in the borough despite the fact that the city's Police Department has the lowest number of officers in 15 years.

“Our officers are doing an amazing job, but there's only so much they can do with the manpower they have,” Vallone said. “With fewer officers, it's difficult to stop minor crimes like graffiti from creeping back up.”

Graffiti also spiked in Brooklyn by slightly more than 100 percent, while the number of complaints in Manhattan rose an estimated 73 percent, according to police statistics.

Graffiti incidents in the Bronx rose 59 percent, while complaints jumped 95 percent in Staten Island, according to police statistics.

Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.

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