Nearly everyone is disturbed by the prevalence of graffiti in many Islip Township communities.
Unfortunately, as the incidence of graffiti has increased I’ve noticed a worrisome rise in apathy. I hear two sentences again and again on this topic. They are “It’s a waste of time to remove graffiti because it always comes back again,” and “I don’t know what to do about it.”
Apathy is the worst possible response to the crime of graffiti. And it is a crime, not art. Graffiti is the most common form of property vandalism, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Like all crimes, there are victims, which in this case involve not only individuals but also entire communities.
Graffiti sends the message that people don’t care about their neighborhood and this attracts more graffiti as well as more serious crime. It’s a drain on tax dollars, causes residents to feel unsafe, reduces property values and impacts local business.
Please be aware that we don’t have to be passive victims of this crime. The following are a number of steps that can help prevent graffiti and reduce the odds of its recurrence.
• Report each incident to the police immediately at 631-852-COPS. Report vandalism in progress to 911. It’s important that the police document all graffiti tags.
• Remove graffiti promptly. Data shows that removal within 48 hours results in a significantly lower rate of recurrence because it discourages vandals, who like to have their tags visible for as long as possible.
• Plant trees, shrubs or vines near frequently defaced areas to make access difficult. This is particularly effective along a blank wall or fence line.
• Install lighting in dark areas, which are prime targets for graffiti.
• Keep your property neat, well maintained and litter-free. An area that looks uncared for attracts graffiti, as well as litter.
Call the Keep Islip Clean office at 631-224-2627 to receive an information packet that lists the best methods for removing graffiti from a variety of surfaces. If graffiti is too extensive or difficult to remove, the Town of Islip now has a Graffiti Hotline at 631-224-2772. Its new state-of-the-art anti-graffiti truck is outfitted with a paint matching system and other equipment for effective removal.
By eliminating graffiti as soon as possible and implementing the preventive steps listed above, you are taking positive action against the blight of graffiti.