The head of a local east Bronx community board is calling on residents to have a do-it-yourself – DIY – approach to graffiti cleanup.
As good as some local graffiti cleanup programs are, including those sponsored by Senator Jeff Klein and the Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit, neighborhood residents can supplement them by painting over the urban-scrawl that defaces their community, said Community Board 10 chairman John Marano.
“The community should take up a proactive position in terms of cleaning up their property,” he said. “We are inundated with calls at the board office. You can always call 311, but don’t only rely on a city agency to clean up graffiti.”
Graffiti is a perennial concern in CB 10, which has been rated the second cleanest in the city, and has its share of Good Samaritans who clean up and paint over the vandalism.
With graffiti growing throughout the area, it can sometimes seem like a never-ending battle to keep walls clear of the scrawl, particular in trouble spots. One such spot, he said, is Bruckner Boulevard between Calhoun Avenue and the Hutchinson River Parkway.
The wall along the Bruckner is public property, with the state Department of Transportation likely responsible for cleaning it up.
But in many cases, owners of private property can help, he said.
“Get a power washer and clean it – take pride in your community,” said Marano.
“It is my house and there is graffiti on my wall, I would clean it up myself,” he said. “I will not let people drive or walk by and see graffiti on my house.”
Marano noted that retired people in the community can “Adopt-a-mailbox,” cleaning graffiti from U.S. Postal Service mailboxes and storage boxes with blue and green paint provided by the U.S.P.S.
Activists such as Country Club dynamo John Provetto have bought their own paint over the years, taking it upon themselves to clean up the Layton Avenue overpass and other places with their own money.
District manager Kenneth Kearns said CB 10 has paint for U.S.P.S. mailboxes and for anyone who would like to “Adopt-a-Mailbox.”
Marano said that the people who spray graffiti – especially teenagers – will not likely see the inside of a jail cell, but they have to realize that cleaning up graffiti involves a significant cost factor.
Senator Klein’s clean-up program is always an option, and his office is planning on cleaning up 20 locations in Waterbury-LaSalle this week, a spokeswoman said.
“Graffiti creates blight, damages property and causes financial hardship for home and business owners,” said Klein. “I have provided a graffiti removal service for nearly ten years, cleaning up hundreds of sites across my district.”
He encouraged residents to report graffiti to his office at 718-822-2049 or fill out a report online at www.nysenate.gov/webform/senator-jeff-kleins-graffiti-removal-program. “Working together as a community,” said Klein, “we can send a message that tagging property will not be tolerated.”