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PR- 195-03
July 16, 2003


Multi-Agency Task Force and Community Groups Remove Over 16 Million Square Feet of Graffiti from Thousands of Sites Improving Quality of Life

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today announced tremendous progress in the fight against graffiti.  Since launching the graffiti cleanup initiative in July 2002, the City’s multi-agency Anti-Graffiti Task Force has removed over 16.3 million square feet of graffiti from more than 6,241 sites across New York City.  Senior Advisor to the Mayor Vincent La Padula, Community Assistance Unit (CAU) Commissioner Jonathan Greenspun, Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe, Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty and Economic Development Corporation President Andrew Alper joined Mayor Bloomberg for the announcement in Ridgewood, Queens.

“We are pleased to report that we are making great strides in the fight against graffiti and its insidious effects on our quality of life.”  Mayor Bloomberg said.  “Since July of last year we have removed 16.3 million square feet of graffiti – which, if stretched out in a one square-foot strip, would reach from New York City to Yakutat Alaska. Graffiti is an invitation for criminal behavior and sends a message that we do not care about our City.  I applaud the efforts of our City agencies and the community groups who have been fighting graffiti so aggressively. I ask them to remain diligent and to keep up the fight, and urge all New Yorkers to call 311 to report graffiti.”
“Graffiti in any neighborhood creates a sense of lawlessness and fear and is completely unacceptable,” said La Padula, who oversees the Anti-Graffiti Task Force. “Since the initiative was launched, the Task Force has worked hard with community groups to seek out and remove graffiti from thousands of sites throughout the five boroughs, and we will continue to vigorously attack the problem.”

“In the true spirit of doing more with less, the Community Assistance Unit is proud of the milestone reached thus far in the war against graffiti,” said Jonathan Greenspun. “However, this is only the beginning. In the coming months, CAU will increase our efforts to remove graffiti as well as enable neighborhood groups to assist in the effort through the Mayor's Paint Program. Having personally participated in several neighborhood graffiti cleanups, I witnessed first hand the satisfaction New Yorkers get from cleaning their property and sending a message to vandals that their crimes will not be tolerated in their community.”

“To boost New York City’s economy and create jobs, it’s critical to create neighborhoods where people want to live and businesses want to locate and invest,” said EDC President Alper. “We're very proud that through this important anti-graffiti initiative, EDC helped remove more than 10 million square feet of graffiti, which hurts neighborhoods both aesthetically and economically.”

Coordinated by CAU, the Task Force has aggressively attacked graffiti throughout the five boroughs in areas such as the Port Morris, Hunts Point and Grand Concourse in the Bronx; Borough Park, Bay Ridge, Williamsburg, Greenpoint, and Bushwick in Brooklyn; Inwood, Turtle Bay, Harlem and Chinatown in Manhattan; Astoria, Sunnyside, and Woodside in Queens; and New Dorp, Port Richmond, West Brighton, Saint George, Tompkinsville and Great Kills in Staten Island. Working with volunteer groups, block associations and community organizations, City agencies have reported removing or painting over approximately 16.3 million square feet of graffiti.

Since launching the initiative:

  • Economic Development Corporation has had over 10.2 million square feet of graffiti eliminated in the City’s industrial, commercial, and maritime areas.

  • Department of Transportation has painted over more than 4.1 million square feet of graffiti from areas surrounding the City’s highways.

  • Department of Parks and Recreation expanded its inspections to look for graffiti in the City’s large parks and small playgrounds and removed 2.03 million square feet through power washers, paint, and spray rigs.

  • Department of Sanitation, operating two power washers and two paint trucks removed over 21,500 square feet of graffiti.

  • Department of Housing Preservation and Development removed approximately 14,500 square feet of graffiti from 157 properties.

  • Department of Probation removed over 10,000 square feet of graffiti.

  • The Human Resource Administration and the New York City Housing Authority also removed thousands of pieces of graffiti from hundreds of sites within their properties.

  • NYPD made 468 arrests for graffiti-related crimes.

An important component to the success of the campaign has been community involvement and the Mayor’s Paint Program.  Since July 2002, aided by 1,500 gallons of paint donated by Home Depot, the Paint Program has given out 1,790 gallons of paint and 7,321 supplies for the removal of graffiti to community groups in every borough.  Application kits for the Mayor’s Paint Program can be obtained from the Mayor’s Community Assistance Unit by calling 311.  For its approved graffiti-removal project, organizations are permitted an allocation of up to 26 gallons of paint, 26 roller sleeves, 12 roller frames.

To report graffiti anywhere in the five boroughs, New Yorkers should call 311.


Edward Skyler / Robert Lawson   (212) 788-2958

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