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NYPD wants public’s help identifying graffiti as city launches bid to paint over the vandalism


NYPD officials announced a new initiative on Wednesday, asking citizens to report and help clean up neighborhood graffiti after the department received more than 6,000 complaints last year.

Concerned residents can send photos of problematic graffiti to the new [email protected] email address, cops announced outside the Lower East Side store MOSCOT – which has been smothered with the vandalism.

The tips received by the NYPD will be investigated by local precincts and community leaders who will examine the graffiti for tags made by gangs and prioritize those with hateful and offensive messages and symbols.

Multiple officials in the department’s top brass hailed the initiative as a means to building relationships and trust with the community.

NYPD officials announced a new initiative on Wednesday, asking citizens to report and help clean up neighborhood graffiti

A 24-hour diner on Utica Avenue in Brooklyn has been overrun with graffiti as the city launches an initiative to clean up the worsening problem

A 24-hour diner on Utica Avenue in Brooklyn has been overrun with graffiti as the city launches an initiative to clean up the worsening problem

A former Pret a Manger location at the corner of West 27th and 7th Avenue in Midtown Manhattan is covered in tags and graffiti

A former Pret a Manger location at the corner of West 27th and 7th Avenue in Midtown Manhattan is covered in tags and graffiti

Multiple officials hailed the initiative to remove graffiti citywide as a means to building relationships and trust with the community

Multiple officials hailed the initiative to remove graffiti citywide as a means to building relationships and trust with the community 

Various places around New York City are overrun with Graffiti as the city launches an inititative to clean up the worsening problem... on March 3 2021Pictured : Tribeca ..Broadway and White Street

Graffiti covers the outside of a building near Broadway and White Street in the ritzy Tribeca neighborhood of Manhattan 

Trash sits underneath the stairs of a building covered in graffiti near Broadway and White Street in the ritzy Tribeca neighborhood of Manhattan

Trash sits underneath the stairs of a building covered in graffiti near Broadway and White Street in the ritzy Tribeca neighborhood of Manhattan

Graffiti covers a closed barbershop and a sign store in the Coney Island neighborhood of Brooklyn on Wednesday

Graffiti covers a closed barbershop and a sign store in the Coney Island neighborhood of Brooklyn on Wednesday 

Graffiti covers a truck parked at the corner of Broadway and 28th Street in Manhattan on Wednesday amid a worsening problem

Graffiti covers a truck parked at the corner of Broadway and 28th Street in Manhattan on Wednesday amid a worsening problem

Graffiti covers a truck parked at the corner of Broadway and 28th Street in Manhattan on Wednesday amid a worsening problem

Graffiti covers a truck parked at the corner of Broadway and 28th Street in Manhattan on Wednesday amid a worsening problem

Two store fronts available for rent in the Soho neighborhood of Manhattan are pictured covered in graffiti on Wednesday

Two store fronts available for rent in the Soho neighborhood of Manhattan are pictured covered in graffiti on Wednesday

Residents walk past shuttered businesses covered in graffiti at the corner of 7th Avenue and 26th Street in Manhattan on Wednesday

Residents walk past shuttered businesses covered in graffiti at the corner of 7th Avenue and 26th Street in Manhattan on Wednesday

A dad pushes his daughter on a bicycle in front of a storefront covered in graffiti at the corner of 7th Avenue and 26th Street

A dad pushes his daughter on a bicycle in front of a storefront covered in graffiti at the corner of 7th Avenue and 26th Street

Residents walk past shuttered businesses covered in graffiti at the corner of 7th Avenue and 26th Street in Manhattan

Residents walk past shuttered businesses covered in graffiti at the corner of 7th Avenue and 26th Street in Manhattan

Graffiti covers a wall at the corner of Varick Street and Canal Street in the Soho neighborhood of Manhattan on Wednesday

Graffiti covers a wall at the corner of Varick Street and Canal Street in the Soho neighborhood of Manhattan on Wednesday

Graffiti covers the face of a building underneath scaffolding at the corner of 7th Avenue and 25th Street in Manhattan on Wednesday

Graffiti covers the face of a building underneath scaffolding at the corner of 7th Avenue and 25th Street in Manhattan on Wednesday

'Gothem' graffiti covers the outside of a building in the ritzy Tribeca neighborhood of Manhattan on Wednesday

‘Gothem’ graffiti covers the outside of a building in the ritzy Tribeca neighborhood of Manhattan on Wednesday

The department will schedule regular ‘paint-in’ days, with the first on the books for April 10, to clean up the graffiti with paint cans and rollers donated by local businesses.

‘As I’m driving over here today, I think it’s apparent to everyone why we’re out here when we look around. It’s spring, we’re coming out of COVID, but New York City needs a little sprucing up today, so that’s what we aim to do,’ Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said.

He added: ‘We think it’s a great opportunity to continue to build trust and relationships in New York City, it’s everything we are trying to do. So why not combine two things that we need. We need to work closer with the community … and we’re asking today for something really simple: we need your help.’

The clean up days will comprise of teams made up of auxiliary police officers, cadets and the young members of the NYPD’s Law Enforcement Explorers Program and community volunteers.

In 1995, then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani signed the Mayoral Executive Order No. 24 – which formally established the Mayor’s Anti-Graffiti Task Force to clean up the graffiti which decorated the city through much of the 1970s and 1980s.

In 2005, then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg expanded the task force and created the graffiti rewards program which awarded up to $500 to people who reported graffiti vandalism in progress through 911.

Chief of Department Rodney Harrison, who is beginning in his new role after the departure of Terence Monahan, said the city takes graffiti ‘seriously,’ the New York Post reported. 

‘We do have a vandals task force team already in place … making sure that they’re out there engaging individuals that choose to dirty up the city,’ Harrison said, according to the Post.

‘So it’s something that we take seriously … we have to juggle a lot of different balls, one of them being violence, but we also have to address minor things.’

Officials hold up a T-shirt designed for the citywide initiative to clean up graffiti, which is often related to drug and gang violence

Officials hold up a T-shirt designed for the citywide initiative to clean up graffiti, which is often related to drug and gang violence

Participants in the Law Enforcement Explorers program will participate in the citywide graffiti cleanup. The Explorers program provides young men and women ages 14 to 20 an introduction to a career in criminal justice

Participants in the Law Enforcement Explorers program will participate in the citywide graffiti cleanup. The Explorers program provides young men and women ages 14 to 20 an introduction to a career in criminal justice

The press conference for the NYPD's graffiti cleanup initiative happened outside MOSCOT, which is pictured covered in graffiti

The press conference for the NYPD’s graffiti cleanup initiative happened outside MOSCOT, which is pictured covered in graffiti

Chief Rodney Harrison speaks during a press conference with Police Commissioner Dermot Shea about the effort to combat graffiti

Chief Rodney Harrison speaks during a press conference with Police Commissioner Dermot Shea about the effort to combat graffiti

Commissioner Shea said that the graffiti initiative has been in the works for months while acknowledging that the city has seen a surge in violent crime through the pandemic and in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd last May.

‘It’s been a tough year, not just for New York City but across this whole country. This is about moving forward, it’s about the recovery, it’s about coming out together and cleaning up. That’s the big statement we want to make,’ Shea said.

According to the New York Daily News, the top cops refuted that the rise in violent crime should be more of a concern for the department and argued that the graffiti initiative will give officers a chance to ‘reform and reinvent.’

‘We often speak about that. We speak about reform and re-invention,’ Chief of Patrol Juanita Holmes said, according to the Daily News.

Residents and business owners claim that the initiative comes a little too late.

‘This has been going on too long and I’ve asked on several occasions what can I use to remove the graffiti from the glass of an establishment in Crown Heights to no avail,’ @Dewarrestaurant tweeted at the NYPD after the announcement.

‘The graffiti on the walls and shutters are easy to remove by painting. Nostrand Ave looks like a war zone.’

Ryan Chadwick told the Daily News that he has to spend $5,000 to remove tags on his Lower East Side seafood restaurant Grey Lady.

Chadwick said his restaurant can’t reopen until the graffiti is cleaned up and his insurance company isn’t helping. 

‘We have to take care of the graffiti ourselves. It costs money,’ he said.



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