Ramos Says Community Involvement Key to Success of Graffiti Removal Program

May 10, 2010

We take great pride in our community. We do everything we can to beautify our area and give our neighborhoods their best chance for a brighter, cleaner future. But recently, increased incidents of graffiti in our community have become more than just local eyesores – they’ve left residents feeling uneasy. When this type of vandalism goes unaddressed it sends a dangerous signal that people just don’t care, which then attracts other forms of crime and delinquency. As a community, we’ve had enough of this defacement and intimidation, and I’m proud to say we are fighting back.

I witnessed the public’s frustration with graffiti and crime in our area firsthand while attending several community forums in March. As a 20-year veteran of the Suffolk County police force, I decided to step up my continued efforts to stamp out graffiti and gang-related activity in our community by securing $40,000 to establish the 6th Assembly District Graffiti Removal Campaign for the neighborhoods of Brentwood, Central Islip, Bay Shore and Islandia.

Administered by the Urban League of Long Island, the Graffiti Removal Campaign gives neighbors the chance to “paint back our streets” and rid the community of graffiti by establishing graffiti-free zones around shopping centers and maintaining these zones with an emphasis on fast response time. In addition, the program will swiftly tend to properties targeted outside of graffiti-free zones and direct cleanup crews to tagged and retagged areas through resident complaints.

Your voices are vital to the success of this program. I encourage residents to speak up and actively participate by contacting the hotline (631-316-8565) or e-mail address (graffitiremoval6ad@gmail.com) with any reports of graffiti in your area.

Area residents are already mobilizing and doing their part to ward off graffiti. Just this month, about 380 volunteers from Brentwood Residents Against Violence Everyday (BRAVE) came out in force to clean up the community. That same day, 13 Brentwood High School students came together to paint a mural over graffiti that was on the side of a strip mall at Suffolk and Jefferson avenues.

It’s important for our neighbors to get involved so that we can put an end to this vandalism one wall, one fence and one street sign at a time. It’s our responsibility to leave this community in better condition than we found it. Graffiti removal will aesthetically improve our neighborhoods, while sending a strong message that we have positive youths and families that live in this community. It’s up to us to help take back the streets.