Continuing his efforts to stamp out gang activity in the community, Assemblyman Phil Ramos (D-Central Islip) has secured $40,000 for graffiti cleanup. The money will establish an annual contract between the Urban League of Long Island and CitySolve, an organization tasked with graffiti removal. The Urban League, a non-profit, will administer the 6th Assembly District Graffiti Removal Campaign for the neighborhoods of Brentwood, Central Islip, Bay Shore and Islandia.
“Aside from being an obvious eyesore, graffiti is unsettling – it makes residents feel unsafe in their own neighborhoods,” Ramos said. “And when it’s left up indefinitely, it sends a dangerous signal that people just don’t care, which then attracts other forms of crime and delinquency.”
Gangs use graffiti to mark their territory and intimidate residents and rivals alike, said Ramos, a 20-year veteran of the Suffolk County police force.
Armed with 12 years of experience and specially designed trucks equipped with power washers and paint sprayers, CitySolve has already identified graffiti-heavy areas and crafted a four-point cleanup plan:
- Graffiti-free zones will be established around shopping centers, including but not limited to Suffolk Avenue, 5th Avenue, Brentwood Parkway, Islip Avenue, Carlton Avenue and Union Avenue.
- graffiti-free zones will be attentively maintained with an emphasis on fast response time;
- properties targeted outside of graffiti-free zones will be swiftly tended to; and
- resident complaints will help direct cleanup crews to tagged and retagged areas.
Residents who encounter graffiti are encouraged to contact the graffiti removal hotline at (631) 316-8565 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“This project stands out from other anti-graffiti initiatives because of its unique district-wide scope. It is the largest scale, most aggressive graffiti cleaning campaign ever initiated in Suffolk County,” Ramos said. “By not limiting cleanup efforts to the odd building or storefront, we’re giving our community the best chance for a brighter, cleaner future.”
“Having cleaned graffiti in NYC for 15 years, we can definitively state that most graffiti is very old, has accumulated over a number of years and does not return after the initial cleaning.” said Bruce Pienkny, President of CitySolve. “However, whatever new graffiti does arise is best eradicated via fast response maintenance. Simply stated, the faster the new graffiti comes down, the lower the likelihood of re-tagging in the future.”
“The Urban League of Long Island has served local youth and families for the past 38 years,” said Theresa Sanders, President and CEO of Long Island Urban League. “Graffiti removal will improve the image of the community and send a strong message that we have positive youth and families that live in this community and we will continue to campaign for achievement and show we care about our community.”