NYPD receives hundreds of requests for graffiti removal

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Cleanup needed — all over the city!

An NYPD email address launched March 3 to take requests for graffiti removal received 690 appeals as of Tuesday, the department said.

The city launched the effort as graffiti surged during the pandemic, with streets empty and shuttered storefronts providing a ready canvas for vandals.

Graffiti vandals have gone wild in Soho in recent weeks with business owners saying they are being hit repeatedly and cleaning up multiple times. West Village residents say they’re also besieged with graffiti.

Protestors also scrawled anti-cop messages during demonstrations in the last year.

There were 6,078 graffiti complaints to 311 in 2020, including 3,831 routed to the city’s Graffiti Free NYC program. That cleanup effort was suspended in April 2020 because of budget constraints and just restarted.

So far this year, the city logged 1,019 complaints through May 17, according to 311 data obtained by The Post. Almost half of the complaints — 434 — were about graffiti on stores and commercial buildings.

A storefront covered with graffiti.
Shuttered storefronts provided a ready canvas for vandals.
Billy Becerra

There were 344 complaints in Brooklyn; 291 in Manhattan; 214 in Queens; 100 on Staten Island, and 70 in the Bronx.

Bay Ridge was among the ZIP codes with the most complaints (57,) followed by West Harlem (32) and the Bulls Head and New Springville neighborhoods of Staten Island (also 32).

“At a time where you’re looking at the viability of cities, it’s a big negative to most people,” said Eugene O’Donnell, a former police officer and prosecutor who teaches at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. “Who would want to buy a house or invest on a street that’s covered with graffiti?”

A New York City Parks Department worker power washes graffiti off of a seating area in Washington Square Park.
Hundreds complaints about graffiti have been filed this year.
Billy Becerra

The NYPD held a citywide graffiti removal day on April 10 and said that since then, it is tackling the program with individual precincts and units doing ongoing clean-ups.

As of May 1, the NYPD said 1,381 locations were cleaned. The department noted that not every email to its graffiti@nypd.org address was for graffiti removal, with 240 people offering to volunteer for cleanups.

An NYPD interactive map showed a smattering of locations where graffiti cleanups have taken place, some with before and after photos, including sites on the Lower East Side, Williamsburg, Bay Ridge, Elmhurst and Bedford Park.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday that the city’s new Cleanup Corps program would focus on graffiti, but probably would not get fully underway until July.

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