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NYPD Strategic Approach to Stopping Vandalism

NCJ Number
Police Chief Volume: 72 Issue: 8 Dated: August 2005 Pages: 90,92-94,96,97
Raymond W. Kelly
Date Published
August 2005
6 pages
The New York Police Department (NYPD) has mounted a new seven-step strategy for thwarting graffiti through enforcement, education, and cleanup.
The priority given to the elimination of graffiti is based in the belief that graffiti vandalism is a quality-of-life crime that symbolizes to citizens the prevalence of disrespect for law, for property, and for the desire of citizens to have a clean and respectful community. The first step in the NYPD's antigraffiti campaign was to create a citywide antigraffiti coordinator and appoint command-level antigraffiti coordinators. Step two consisted of the creation of a Citywide Vandals Task Force (CVTF) with a transient and graffiti section. The third step was to increase the CVTF staffing levels by 10 police officers, 1 lieutenant, and 2 sergeants to reach a total staff of 60 police officers, 13 sergeants, and 3 lieutenants. Step four consisted of an increased use of technology, including the maintenance of a new centralized graffiti database to include photographs of both offenders and graffiti "tags" that can be retrieved for intelligence and local enforcement initiatives; the use of digital cameras to photograph graffiti-vandalized property; and equipment needed for vehicle tracking and the development of a helpline. The fifth step was to educate the public about graffiti prevention, reporting, and cleanup; and the sixth step was to implement the initiative through enforcement, education, and cleanup. This involved the identification of graffiti-infested or high-risk locations and channeling resources to address the problem. The last step was to track the progress and report the results of the strategy. The increase in citywide arrests for graffiti offenses and the expanded removal of graffiti are evidence that the program is working. The NYPD believes its strategy can be replicated in cities and towns of any size.