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Anti-SB1070 graffiti in downtown Phoenix

[Source: Jay ReynoldsABC15.com]

Source: Newspaper Enterprise Assn.

PHOENIX – Arizona’s border battle is leaving its mark on downtown Phoenix, but not in a good way.

“Usually people, when they see graffiti, they think of crime or a run down area,” said Manager of Alta Phoenix Lofts Chiara Elie.

Within the last week, downtown Phoenix has become a spot for anti SB 1070 tagging, which has residents in Alta Phoenix Lofts upset.

“What’s terrible is that we’re really trying to bring up this community, not just this property but the neighboring businesses and the last thing we need is graffiti,” said Elie.

The messages are showing up on everything from stop signs to a mural on the side of a building.

Within a few blocks there are eight different anti-SB1070 messages.

“Around the area we have seen a few things that we would not want to see here,” said Elie.

The City of Phoenix says they take the graffiti problem seriously and they’ll clean it up if they can.

“I think people want to fight for what they believe in, but I feel that’s just not the way to do it,” said Elie.

No matter the message, political or not, it’s a crime, and the city will prosecute.

“They can do it another way, to get their point across versus messing up our area,” said Elie.

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Department cuts could hurt Phoenix anti-graffiti efforts

[Source: Michael Clancy, Arizona Republic] — Graffiti could gain a foothold in Phoenix because of several proposed budget cuts.  Cuts in four departments could affect the city’s ability to respond to graffiti, often seen as a precursor to worse crime.  Neighborhood Services, Arts & Culture, Parks and Recreation, and Police have identified potential budget cuts that affect graffiti control.   “These are all quality of life issues that impact neighborhoods and the public,” said Erynn Crowley, deputy director of the Neighborhood Services Department.

In Neighborhood Services, three inspectors who spend time making sure stores have graffiti supplies locked up could lose their jobs.  The employees also check adult-business licenses, enforce mobile- and street-vending rules, and administer laws at special events.  The department now will react to complaints instead of actively checking for violations.  Savings are estimated at $421,000 this year and next.

In Arts, the public-art preservation program could be reduced.  One of its functions is to clean up graffiti and vandalism on public-art pieces.  The program, if the cuts are ultimately approved, would be reduced to half the size it was two years ago.  The cuts would total $60,000.

In Parks, ending a softball program would result in the elimination of maintenance staff in northwest and northeast Phoenix.  If the program ends in July, as proposed, the maintenance cuts will result in longer intervals for graffiti removal, among other items.  Savings are pegged at $179,000.

Finally, the Police Department is proposing the elimination of the bias crimes/graffiti squad. The squad investigates crimes related to prejudice and graffiti, which often is the result of gangs marking their territory. Savings in the department would total $710,000.

Altogether, the cuts would target 15 jobs and save $1.4 million.   [Note: Read the full article at Department cuts could hurt Phoenix anti-graffiti efforts.]

Phoenix Graffiti Busters and Good Neighbor programs win national recognition

[Source: City of Phoenix] — Phoenix Neighborhood Services Department’s “Graffiti Busters” program took the top prize in the Physical Revitalization & Beautification category of the 2009 Best Neighborhood Program Awards, at the Neighborhoods, USA conference in Spokane, WA.  The department’s “Good Neighbor” program placed third in the Social Revitalization/ Neighborliness category.  “We are proud of the impact these two programs have had on the lives of the residents of Phoenix,” said Jerome Miller, director, Neighborhood Services.  “This national recognition honors the cooperative spirit of Neighborhood Services staff and residents, working together to make Phoenix the best it can be.”

The “Graffiti Busters” program was created as a partnership between department staff and residents to identify and remove graffiti as fast as it appears.  Last year, department staff removed more than 52,000 tagged sites.  Staff also trained residents and provided the tools necessary to help in the fight.  The “Good Neighbor” program was created to inspire residents to participate in neighborhood improvement projects through a series of educational & self-awareness oriented classes and workshops.

Neighborhoods, USA is a national nonprofit organization committed to building and strengthening neighborhood organizations.  For more information, click here.

No tolerance for vandals of metro Phoenix light rail

[Source: Casey Newton, Arizona Republic] — Riders of Metro light rail will get five days to ride the system for free.  But when it comes to vandalizing the trains, there are no freebies.  “There will be zero tolerance,” said Tom Simplot, chairman of the Metro board.  “The last thing we want is a graffiti-ridden, garbage-strewn light-rail system.”

The Metro board voted this week to adopt a zero-tolerance policy for violations of its prohibited-conduct ordinance, which is effective in Phoenix, Tempe, and Mesa.  The ordinance prohibits vandalism, smoking, playing loud music, and other inconsiderate behavior.  Officials warn that first-time violators will be punished beginning on opening day, Dec. 27, receiving fines of $50 to $500.  Some acts of vandalism could be prosecuted criminally.  Anyone who sees someone vandalizing a train should inform a Metro security officer or use one of the call boxes on the train, officials said.  “Call us,” said Rick Simonetta, Metro CEO.  (602) 253-5000.

On July 12, do what you can to clean up graffiti

Graffiti Busters logo

Learn how to set up and operate a paint sprayer to eliminate graffiti in your Phoenix neighborhood during a free workshop from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Saturday, July 12, at the Graffiti Busters Warehouse, 64 N. 48th Ave.  For more information, click here.