WLCA keeps urban scrawl off mailboxes

With graffiti on the rise all over the Bronx, residents of the Waterbury-LaSalle area have decided to take matters into their own hands to make sure their neighborhood remains as clean as  possible.

The Waterbury-LaSalle Community Association has teamed up with Congressman Joe Crowley’s office to make sure postal mailboxes in the area remain clear of the urban scrawl defacing not just public property, but the fences and garage doors of homes in the area.

“I am proud of working with the Waterbury-LaSalle Community Association on community improvement, anti-crime, and anti-graffiti projects,” said Congressman Joe Crowley.

Crowley provides the funding to WLCA as part of the national “crime-stoppers” program, which he works hard to obtain funding for every year.

“For quite a few years, Congressman Crowley’s office has provided us with paint and brushes,” said Andrew Chirico, of the WLCA.

Chirico said individuals in the neighborhood sponsor a mailbox somewhere in the neighborhood, which they monitor and paint over when vandals strike. 

 “Graffiti has not only been present on the green mail boxes, where mail is stored, but on the blue mailboxes where mail is dropped off, as well as on green DOT traffic boxes, and silver lampposts,” Chirico added. “What has also been a major issue are kids putting graffiti along the fences of people’s homes and garage doors.”

Chirico stated the 45 Precinct keeps a catalog of photos, recording the various “tags” that people scrawl illegally, so when vandals are caught, the tags can be matched to the perpetrator’s profile.

The WLCA now has all colors of paint to combat the problem, and this brings residents out into the streets armed with brushes in an effort to take back their neighborhood one object at a time.

“You can’t keep up with the graffiti on the mailboxes,” said area resident Connie Sadler. “I find there are just so many mailboxes, both green and blue, needing to be painted, but that’s not going to stop us.”

Sadler said she felt it was important to make the neighborhood clean, especially around the holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas, because people who come to visit may take away a wrong impression of the area.

“Now [vandals] are even obscuring stop signs with graffiti, possibly creating accidents,” Sadler, who adopted a mailbox on Codington Avenue, added.

Sadler said many of her neighbors have adopted a mailbox, and that she and her granddaughter have adopted one they can work on together.

Hester Bellomo, who also lives in the area, frequently cleans the mailbox near the corner of LaSalle and Mayflower avenues.

“They gave us paint and whenever we saw graffiti, we would paint over it,” Bellomo said. “What ends up happening, is that we often see several mailboxes that need painting when we were only planning on one, so as long as we have paint we take care of those too.”

Graffiti, Waterbury LaSalle Community Association, Congressman Joseph Crowley, mailboxes, cleanup, crime, vandalism

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