While the problem may have subsided since graffiti covered subway cars and public buildings in the 1970s, local communities throughout the area are once again feeling the sting of graffiti’s blight, with every overpass and back-fence now cause for growing concern.
“I often take the train to work these days,” noted Al Carena, president of the Spencer Estate Civic Association. “I can see graffiti on buildings on the entire #6 line in the Bronx, right up to Pelham Bay station.”
Carena was quick to draw attention to published reports indicating an over 80% increase in graffiti related complaints to the city between 2006 and 2007. City officials are unsure if is really in response to growing amounts of graffiti, or simply better reporting of urban scrawl through 311.
Carena also said several places in Pelham Bay Park are hot spots for graffiti vandals, and the vandalism isn’t stopping there.
“The back fences of homes along the Bruckner service road in Country Club have graffiti again,” Carena said.
Those phenomena disappeared in the last few years thanks to clean-up efforts, but have resurfaced. There is also increased activity on Outlook Avenue, with fences or walls sprayed recently.
The problem is even more noticeable at the highways, such as where the Bruckner and Throgs Neck expressways meet.
“If you go outside [of P.S. 14],” said Waterbury-LaSalle Community Association president Tony Cannata during a recent meeting of his group at the school, “you will see the side of the highway plastered with graffiti.”
Cannata urged the members of his organization to contact their local civic group, or Senator Jeff Klein’s office, which has a cleanup program.
“It still looks as bad as it ever did,” stated Andrew Chirico, also of WLCA. “It is on the buildings at Waterbury Avenue and Bruckner Boulevard, and it can be seen all over I-95 and at many lamp posts and mail boxes around the neighborhood.”
Chirico was quick to add that the 45th precinct does an excellent job of apprehending the criminals who spray-paint graffiti. The 45th Precinct even releases a list of those arrested for ‘making graffiti’ to the Bronx Times Reporter to serve as a deterrent to current and would-be vandals.
But the problem, Chirico said, really lies in the parents and courts who do not take graffiti seriously.
“Regardless of their age, these criminals need to be treated as criminals,” Chirico added, “and if they are under age, their parents should be held accountable too.”