New York City Police Department

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Crime Prevention | Anti-Graffiti Initiatives

The NYPD is proactive in re-examining old problems and finding creative ways to solve them. In October 2004, it took another look at the crime of graffiti vandalism. In an effort to continue to address this quality of life issue and prevent graffiti, a new program is in place.

At the direction of the Police Commissioner, the former Special Operations Division Anti-graffiti/Vandalism Unit was merged with the Transit Bureau's Vandal's Unit to form the Citywide Vandals Task Force. The staffing levels of this new Task Force have been increased to assist in the enforcement efforts.

For the first time the Task Force has access to the 311 system. It will utilize this system to track and monitor all graffiti complaints on a daily basis. In addition, 311 calls for past graffiti complaints have been upgraded to "URGENT." The Task Force personnel are also researching, testing, and developing new equipment in their endeavor to capture graffiti vandals.

Program Enhancements

The Police Commissioner directed that a number of enhancements be made to improve the program to make it more effective:
  • NYPD Captain, Elwood Selover, is designated the Commanding Officer of the Citywide Vandals Task Force.
  • Anti-graffiti Coordinators on the Patrol, Transportation, and Housing Bureau levels, the Patrol Borough levels, and each local command level, are focusing their resources for enforcement, cleanup and education initiatives. These coordinators also have increased their contact with the Mayor's Community Assistance Unit regarding local cleanups. Additionally, the coordinators will be responsible to provide extensive managerial oversight in dealing with graffiti issues. They will now report weekly at GRAFFITI-STAT regarding their handling of graffiti crimes and assess the progress they are making in preventing graffiti.

    The New York Police Department has created a centralized intelligence graffiti database to identify known graffiti vandals with their tags. This database can readily be accessed by local commands.

    Finally, the NYPD is endeavoring to promote public awareness regarding graffiti and to enlist the public's help and cooperation to combat this problem. In this regard, the Department has taken the following steps:

    • The NYPD has reinvigorated its reward program funded by the Police Foundation. Rewards of up to $500 will be given out to anyone providing information leading to the arrest and conviction of graffiti vandals. Calls can be made to 911 for acts of graffiti vandalism that are in progress, or 311 in all other instances.
    • A "Combat Graffiti" Brochure highlighting the Anti-graffiti Initiative has been prepared for city-wide distribution.
    • The NYPD Community Affairs Unity has developed an anti-graffiti curriculum for use by local Community Affairs Officers for community group meetings. A "Graffiti Hurts" tape has been distributed with the curriculum.
    • Youth Officers have been trained in an anti-graffiti curriculum. They will utilize this curriculum to educate student bodies at schools and young people at youth forums.