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July 10, 2002


Mayor Urges Community Groups to Join Anti-Graffiti Efforts and Improve Quality of Life

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today announced a multi-agency graffiti cleanup, which will be led by the City's Anti-Graffiti Task Force with the assistance of local community groups throughout the five boroughs. Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes, Senior Advisor to the Mayor Vincent La Padula, Community Assistance Unit (CAU) Commissioner Jonathan Greenspun, Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe, and Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty joined Mayor Bloomberg for the announcement in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

"Graffiti is not just an eyesore; it is an invitation to criminals and a message to citizens that we don't care," Mayor Bloomberg said. "This strategic effort will enlist community groups and coordinate City agencies to remove graffiti as soon as it appears and punish those who are responsible. No matter what neighborhood you live in, you should not have to tolerate this urban blight."

"Graffiti contributes to a feeling of disorderliness and fear," said La Padula, who oversees the Task Force. "Those are ingredients for increased crime. The City's goal is to work with local civic groups to restore order and preserve community life."

Coordinated by CAU, the Task Force will attack graffiti throughout the five boroughs, focusing on the Grand Concourse in the Bronx; Borough Park, Bay Ridge, Williamsburg, Greenpoint, and Bushwick in Brooklyn; Inwood, Turtle Bay, and Harlem in Manhattan; Astoria, Sunnyside, and Woodside in Queens; and New Dorp, Port Richmond, and West Brighton in Staten Island.

During the anti-graffiti campaign, the Department of Sanitation will operate two power washers and two paint trucks. The Department of Parks and Recreation will operate power washers, paint, and spray rigs to remove graffiti and expand its inspections to look for graffiti in the City's large parks and small playgrounds. The Economic Development Corporation will operate a fleet of ten trucks to eliminate graffiti in the City's industrial, commercial, and maritime areas.

The NYPD will provide the resources for extensive investigations into graffiti crimes and will serve as the enforcement arm of the Task Force. In addition to regular patrols that target this form of vandalism, the Police Department will continue to use tips to find and arrest individuals who commit graffiti crimes. In addition, the Mayor's Criminal Justice Coordinator will work with the Police Department, the District Attorneys, and the court system to ensure that graffiti violations are vigorously enforced and prosecuted. To report graffiti vandalism, citizens can call the NYPD's 24-hour quality of life hotline at (888) 677-LIFE (5433).

The Task Force is working with community groups in every borough, including ACORN in the Bronx, the People's Fire House, Inc., in Brooklyn, Heritage Health and Housing, Inc., in Manhattan, the Sunnyside Garden Roosevelt Court Association in Queens, and the 122nd Precinct Community Council in Staten Island. CAU will provide paint and supplies to these local civic organizations to help clean up graffiti in their neighborhoods. Since May, aided by 1,500 gallons of paint recently donated by Home Depot, CAU has distributed 716 gallons of paint and 1,979 supplies, including brushes, roller sleeves, poles, paint trays, and drop cloths. To obtain paint supplies from CAU, citizens can call (212) 788-7413.

The Task Force, established by Executive Order No. 24 of 1995, includes representatives from various City agencies, including the Department of Buildings, the Department of Business Services, the Department of Consumer Affairs, the Department of Cultural Affairs, the Department of Citywide Administrative Services, the Fire Department, the Housing Authority, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, the Human Resources Administration, the Landmarks Preservation Commission, the Law Department, the Department of Parks and Recreation, the Police Department, the Department of Probation, the Department of Sanitation, the Department of Transportation, and the Department of Youth and Community Development. This year the Task Force already has cleaned 638 locations throughout the City.

Contact: Edward Skyler / Jerry Russo
(212) 788-2958