Friday, November 21, 2008
Looks like I'm not the only one who thinks graffiti is a serious problem. MSNBC just posted this story about a study which showed that graffiti leads to more littering and theft.
There sure is a lot of graffiti in Middletown lately. Some of these "tags" (graffiti signatures) are probably done by bored "kids", and some appear to be the work of organized crime (gangs).
But my real issue with graffiti is that it says to the bad guys: "Hey, we're open for business here in Middletown." It says that this community looks the other way when things go wrong. And that's a slippery slope.
Would you like to stop seeing so much graffiti in Middletown?
There actually IS something you can do.
First: Click on the Tags in Middletown photo collection on Flickr (if you're new to Flickr, you'll have to register -- it's easy and free). The Tags in Middletown group shows photos of local graffiti from the last few months. Click on the word "Map" to see where each photo was taken (geo-tagged).
Second: If you see any graffiti, and it's not already on the Flickr page, then take a digital photo and send it by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll make sure it gets up on Flickr.
This database is a tool to help local police track graffiti tags as they appear, and to be sure that the Public Works department knows when public property has been vandalized and needs clean-up. Both departments are aware of the pictured graffiti on this website -- hopefully, cleanup is coming soon. Last year, there were some graffiti arrests. This year, someone was even caught in the act.
Graffiti is one of those things you get used to, and which seems to multiply if it is not removed quickly. Depressingly, there are about 80 pieces of graffiti on the Tags in Middletown page right now, and as far as I know, only one has been cleaned so far(that was on private property). I don't know about you, but I think we can do a better job.