One of the challenges we face with City employee layoffs and furlough days is that many of the City services we once took for granted now take much longer to be performed. One of those is graffiti removal.
My office is taking a proactive approach to battling this eyesore.
Beginning TODAY, volunteers and interns in my office will walk every street and alley in the 49th Ward to document every instance of graffiti. We’ll photograph all the graffiti and record its location.
When the graffiti is on garbage carts, street lights, street signs, mailboxes and other public infrastructure, we’ll cover it over with paint or remove it with graffiti removal. When it’s on private property or hard-to-reach public infrastructure, we’ll report it to the City of Chicago’s Graffiti Blaster program.
As soon as my office has completed its inventory, I have arranged for the Graffiti Blaster trucks to descend upon the 49th Ward in a concerted effort to remove all the graffiti we’ve reported. By organizing and mapping the graffiti locations in advance, their time will be spent more efficiently.
We’ll also share the photographs and locations with the 24th District police so they can better track graffiti patterns and trends. By sharing this data with the police, we hope to be able to provide useful evidence of widespread damage when a tagger is arrested. The police may also use this evidence to determine areas of gang activity.
How can you help? First, report graffiti to our office as soon as you see it. Call us at 773-338-5796 or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please try to be as specific as possible. We’ll need the following information:
- Address where the graffiti is located (example: 1234 Maple Street, or the southwest corner of Elm Street and Main Street).
- Where at the address the graffiti can be found (example: in the alley, on the east side of the building, on a dumpster, on a mailbox, on a garage door, etc.).
- The type of surface the graffiti is on (example: brick, aluminum, metal, glass, stucco, limestone, wood (if wood, the color it is painted), etc.).
- Whether the graffiti is more than six feet from the ground.
Second, spread the word. If you have a neighbor whose home has been tagged with graffiti, ask them to report the graffiti to my office.
Third, join one of our graffiti removal teams that are scouring the neighborhood! We’re especially looking for people who own a camera equipped with GPS. If you want to volunteer, reply to this e-mail or call us at 773-338-5796.
Fourth, you don’t have to wait for the Graffiti Blasters to remove graffiti from your property. Click the link below for some helpful graffiti removal tips. As evidence of the national breadth of this problem, these tips were prepared by the City of Milwaukee and re-printed on the City of Minneapolis web site!
Finally, please call the police if you spot suspicious activity. We want to prevent graffiti before it goes up!
If you want to learn more about my graffiti removal campaign and other 49th Ward news, tune in tonight to Cable Access Network’s (CAN-TV) live call-in, “Political Forum” programhosted by Kathy Posner. The show will air TONIGHT (Wednesday, July 14th), from 7:00 to 7:30 p.m. on Cable Channel 21. I will report the latest goings-on in the ward and the City Council.
It’s a live call-in show, so please feel free to phone in with your questions and comments.