Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani
Tuesday, July 11, 1995
Thank you, Commissioner Doherty. Good afternoon. Today I'm pleased to sign "Executive Order number 24" which creates an anti-graffiti Task Force in the City of New York. The Anti-Graffiti Task Force will include 16 City agencies, with my office and the Police Department serving as co-coordinators. The Other 14 agencies are: the Housing Authority, Parks Department, Probation, Department of Business Services, Department of Transportation, Housing Preservation and Development, Consumer Affairs, Sanitation, Cultural Affairs, the Transit Authority, General Services, the Department of Buildings, the Landmarks Commission, and the Law Department. Commissioners from these agencies are with us today. For the past 18 months, the Task Force agencies have been working to develop effective anti-graffiti programs. Today, I am formalizing this relationship by creating the Anti-Graffiti Task Force as part of a comprehensive law enforcement, cleanup, and education effort aimed at graffiti vandals. This effort is long overdue.
For more than 20 years, a growing plague of graffiti has defaced and disfigured public and private property. In 1971, graffiti removal cost the New York City Transit Authority about $300,000 a year. Today, graffiti costs the Transit Authority $8 million a year. Nationwide, it is estimated that municipalities spend at least $7 billion a year to prevent and clean up graffiti. This is a terrible waste. We need those billions for education. . .for health care. . .housing and other vital services. Some commentators would have us believe that graffiti is art. It is not. Graffiti is vandalism. Where graffiti flourishes, communities suffer. Graffiti intimidates residents. It encourages street gangs. It discourages tourists, lowers property values and invites other kinds of crime. Graffiti painted New York City into a corner, but we don't have to stay there.
Over the last year and a half, I've made it clear that New York City will no longer tolerate graffiti. Last fall, we began our anti-graffiti crackdown. I called on our commissioners to work toward reducing graffiti throughout the City. The Police Department's "Anti-Graffiti Vandal Squad", for example, has been using new strategies to find and arrest graffiti vandals. Last Saturday, we began a week-long focus on anti-graffiti efforts. Consumer Affairs is letting storeowners know that we will be strictly enforcing the law against displaying spray cans and indelible markers, and selling them to minors. Each day this week D.O.T. will be removing graffiti from different highways throughout the City. And, as you can see, the Sanitation Department is now in the process of removing graffiti from their collection trucks.
It's a big job. Half our sanitation trucks are parked outside at night. Almost 30% are scarred by graffiti. The Department will be working to bring that number down to zero. In a few minutes, the various commissioners and their representatives will explain what they're doing to fight graffiti. Task Force members will share ideas and strategies, encourage community groups, explore new technologies, and suggest new initiatives and legislation. Remember, graffiti is not art. It's an assault on our communities and our quality of life. If you see a graffiti crime in progress, know of an offending store, or want to help with "New York Clean" education, enforcement, and cleanup initiatives, please call "The Graffiti Hotline" at (212) 374-5914. With good law enforcement, community leadership, and the "Anti-Graffiti Task Force", we can stop this plague. We can clean up our city just like we cleaned up that sanitation truck, and give New York City a fresh, new start. Thank You.
And, now, it is my pleasure to sign
"Executive Order number 24", establishing the "Mayor's Anti-Graffiti