Councilman Daniel Dromm of Jackson Heights has set up a hotline that will allow community members to report graffiti and subsequently have it removed.
“This program will provide any person who lives in the district free graffiti removal,” said Dromm last week. “All they have to do is to call my office at (718) 803-6373 and press button number 6.”
Once a resident leaves their contact information and the location of the graffiti, the area will be cleaned within two weeks. The program is funded by $23,000 that Dromm allocated through discretionary funding.
To show how the program works, Dromm held a demonstration on 78th Street, where a resident who heard about the hotline called to report vandalism on historic pillars on the block.
Standing with Bruce Pienkny, the owner of City Solve, a graffiti-removal company that will handle the cleanup process, Dromm and community members watched as the first graffiti complaint was washed away.
“We’re not going to tolerate these types of crimes being committed,” he said. “This sends a message that Jackson Heights is a great place to live.”
“This is a wonderful program that is going to help the community,” added Marta Leberton, chair of Community Board 3.
Dromm said his office has received numerous phone calls complaining about the amount of graffiti in the district.
“It really adds to a bad quality of life,” he said. “When people see graffiti anywhere in the district, it just connotes a negative feeling about the community in which we live.”
As for the process itself, Pienkny explained workers use a biodegradable chemical that breaks down the paint, which is then removed with power washer. He said that in his experience graffiti stops in areas that have anti-graffiti programs.
“Once they know the tags are coming down, they get discouraged,” Pienkny said. “They give up.”