Reaching new heights

With graffiti literally rising, local politicians and community organizations are looking for ways to combat the vandalism affecting the quality of life for Pelham Bay residents. Courtesy of Pelham Bay Taxpayers Association

With graffiti reaching new heights local politicians and community organizations are looking for ways to stop the ongoing vandalism trend.

Unlike graffiti found along street level that is easily removed by programs such as Senator Jeff Klein’s free graffiti removal service and Mayor Bloomberg’s Graffiti Free NYC, residents and business owners are concerned with the hard-to-reach graffiti found on the second story and the floors above.

“It seems we have been more successful in removing the ground-level graffiti so it has risen because vandals realize it is hard for us to get up there,” said Mary Jane Musano, member of the Waterbury LaSalle Community Association. “We have to be as creative as we can to attack it.”

Representatives of both Klein and Councilman Jimmy Vacca joined members of the Pelham Bay Taxpayers Association to conduct a walkthrough in Pelham Bay on Wednesday, April 22 to assess problematic sites and determine the best action to remove the graffiti.

“It’s a shame because it is desecrating the neighborhood,” said Anita Valenti, vice president of the Pelham Bay Taxpayers Association. “We see it on businesses and private residential buildings. It makes everyone in the community angry.”

While Klein extends his service to target the new heights, Vacca will be working with landlords to take a more active role in the maintenance of their property.

“This year we’ll literally be reaching farther to better protect our community from graffiti,” said Klein. “Our work is never done, but we continue to develop our program and deter vandalism which unfortunately isn’t limited to the ground floor.”

According to Police Officer Pasquale Pappalardi, of the 45th Precinct, this has been a problem for years, with vandals climbing up onto low roofs to tag the adjacent buildings.

“If you look out the window on the #6 IRT train it is like a different world, most of the graffiti is old and can’t be seen until you are on the train,” said Pappalardi. “If the owners removed it themselves it would deter the kids. If no one removes it, it looks terrible.”

In addition to the removal, the WLCA hopes to install security cameras to prevent vandalism along Crosby, Buhre and Westchester avenues.

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