The war on graffiti is at a turning point. Arrests are up but sadly, so are reports of graffiti vandalized properties.
“Graffiti is a symptom of crime and negatively affects the quality of life of all citizens through decreased property values, increased taxes and a financial burden on affected businesses and homes,” said Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown said recently following the arrest of two vandals one in Brooklyn and one in Ridgewood.
“City officials and anti-graffiti activists have done a remarkable job over the years in cleaning up New York City’s image as a graffiti scarred city. We will not allow such individuals to mar the beauty of our city or threaten to return us to the days when our transit system and our highways and buildings were covered with graffiti.”
We agree with DA Brown and applaud the arrest records of the 104th Precinct, which has the highest amount of collars followed by the 108th, 109th and 114th Precincts.
The increase in arrests is in direct relationship to the amount of effort by the public in reporting the vandalism.
Tags can be seen nearly everywhere – from private homes to businesses to city property. However due to community campaigns to clean up the mess, including the financial incentives from local politicians such as Assemblymember Mike Miller, Senator Joseph Addabbo, and Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley who are offering $500 to any resident who can provide information on graffiti vandals that leads to an arrest and conviction.
Although the reward program is being offered through all three offices (Addabbo, 718-738-1111; Miller, 718-805-0950; Crowley, 718-366-3900), anyone witnessing a crime in progress should immediately call 9-1-1. To report existing graffiti, call 3-1-1.
Assemblymember Andrew Hevesi has his own STOP Graffiti Program. Residents of our community are encouraged to call my graffiti hotline at 718-263-5687. Hevesi’s office will coordinate free clean up of the site.
The New York Police Department also has a program, funded by the Police Foundation, with a reward of up to $500.
Help in the war, be a graffiti spotter, be graffiti scout. Report the tags – by calling 3-1-1 – when they first occur and watch how fast the city responds.