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Harsher graffiti penalties asked

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During the 49th Precinct Community Council meeting, residents and community organizations alike agreed that graffiti has become a predominant issue affecting the quality of life.

In recent weeks, several graffiti incidents have caused the community to push for forceful punishments to discourage these acts.

Graffiti has increased along Holland, Crugar, and Lydig avenues, on storefront properties and residential buildings.

“We haven’t seen this much graffiti in the area in over a year,” said Edith Blitzer of the Pelham Parkway South Neighborhood Association. “The judges give these kids a slap on the wrist.”

Morris Park was also hit hard, with one vandal striking approximately five locations along Morris Park and Paulding avenues, around 4 a.m. on Saturday, February 21.

The 49th Precinct continues to take swift action, sending out personnel to cover areas reported as problem locations, but it is the penalties that community groups’ feel will discourage future vandalism.

“We are going to try to put more pressure on the District Attorney’s Office to make the punishments more serious,” said Al D’Angelo of the Morris Park Community Association.

In the meanwhile, with warmer weather approaching, graffiti removal is a top priority.

The Community Board 11 graffiti removal program, made possible with assistance from Senator Jeff Klein, Councilman Jimmy Vacca, the 49th Precinct, and MPCA, is looking to expand by purchasing a trailer to store the removal supplies.

“We are expanding our group and getting more people to come out and volunteer their time to remove the graffiti,” said Mike Carriere, member of CB11.

“We are also beginning a pilot program for people arrested for graffiti to do community service removing the graffiti.”

The estimated cost for the trailer is $ 2,600, to be paid by CB11 and Klein.

According to Carriere, Klein also helps by offering his power washing services to CB11.

“Since we stopped for the winter, the community can really see how often we are out there cleaning this up,” said Carriere.

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CNG: Community Newspaper Group