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Return of the Vandal Squad

January 13, 2005

Image by the God Bless Graffiti Coalition
Mayor Bloomberg’s annual “State of the City” address on Tuesday passed without much comment, but a disturbing highlight for us was his promise to create a new anti-graffiti task force, as if the old one wasn’t bad enough. Quote:
“Because whether it’s jumping turnstiles, aggressive panhandling, or other ‘broken windows’ offenses – some may say they’re petty crimes, but if left unchecked, they permit more serious crimes to flourish. That’s why we’re launching a major new initiative to stop graffiti. It will include an 80-member NYPD anti-graffiti task force, with coordinators in each police precinct.” (emphasis ours)
In a press release put out today, Bloomberg and NYPD chief Ray Kelly formally announced the anti-graffiti initiative.
With fame starting to hit a few artists from the new generation of street artists, Bloomberg and Kelly are planning on buffing a lot of art and arresting a lot of kids. The Broken Windows theory has governed policing in this city since the the beginning of Giuliani’s tenure, but graffiti has been a scapegoat to explain away the city’s problems since it was born.
There’s a lot more to say about all this…. While this is in some ways an old story, it’s an important one too. Some of my favorite great, unique, city-beautifying pieces have gotten the buff in the last few months and I’d like to post some RIPs on the new photolog. A few of us in the collective are talking about running a little anti-anti-graffiti campaign — hopefully we’ll have details soon. Any ideas or contributions on the subject are welcome.
*Image blatantly stolen from the God Bless Graffiti Coalition.

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