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Home > City Departments > Citizens Services > Anti-Graffiti and Clean City Programs

Anti-Graffiti and Clean City Programs

Program Coordinator - Burt Mirti
Phone - (716) 851-4348
Address - 218 City Hall, Buffalo, New York 14202

The city’s Office of Anti-Graffiti and Clean City Programs includes the city’s graffiti abatement initiative and coordination of Clean City programs. The office will act as a liaison between the Division of Citizen Services, the Buffalo Police, Inspection and Permits, Public Works Departments and community and other organized groups, educating the public on graffiti prevention and removal as well clean city and beautification. This will include working with community-based organizations, businesses to beautify city vacant space with gardens, tree plantings, and implement a snow angel program. Some of the goals and objectives for the program include:

  • Implement a public awareness campaign, informing the city-at-large of anti-graffiti, clean city and quality of life efforts.
  • Gather information on those responsible for the spreading of graffiti by working with the Buffalo Police Department and related agencies;
  • Implement a reporting mechanism addressing the occurrence and eradication of graffiti for long-term strategic allocation of city resources through the development and maintenance of a database to track occurrences and problem spots
  • Assist in developing and implementing a number of programs, such as snow removal efforts for senior citizens, neighborhood beautification and cleaning.
  • Mobilize and establish a central registry of volunteers for beautification efforts.
  • Continue to assist block clubs buy providing resources for beautification events and efforts.

Graffiti Prevention Improves the Quality of Life for Communities and Residents

Graffiti is a sign of decay and makes people feel that their neighborhood is being lost to gangs and crime. If allowed to remain, it sends the message that the community is unconcerned about its appearance. In spite of its colorful qualities, graffiti is not art. Graffiti is a crime that costs communities more than $8 billion a year to clean up. Although graffiti vandals come from varied social, ethnic, and economic backgrounds, graffiti is very much a youth-related problem, with about half of all acts committed by suburban males from preteens to early twenties.

Graffiti hurts communities. It drains tax dollars and private funds and sends a message that nobody cares about the area in which it appears. This becomes an open invitation for loitering, littering, more graffiti, and crime. It hurts property values and frightens away businesses. The best way to prevent graffiti is to remove it as fast as possible, preferably within the first 24 hours.
Aggressively prosecuting graffiti vandals is important, as is educating youth and adults about the impact of graffiti vandalism on neighborhoods. And because graffiti vandals often steal the tools they use in their crimes, a program to reduce retail theft is advisable.

The follow are just a few guiding principals that will guide the city anti-graffiti efforts:

Keep up the neighborhood Campaign

Make every effort to keep the appearance of a neighborhood clean and neat.  Remove litter and trash, fix broken fences, trim landscape, and ensure all lighting is working properly. According to the Los Angeles Police Department, exterior appearance that suggests apathy and neglect attracts vandals.

Remove graffiti promptly with 48 hours of report on public spaces

Rapid removal of graffiti is an effective prevention tool. Data shows that removal within 24 to 48 hours results in a nearly zero rate of recurrence.  Most Keep America Beautiful affiliates credit the reduction in graffiti in their communities to rapid removal.

Encourage citizen reporting by using the Mayor’s Call and Resolution center

Educate the public about the impact of graffiti vandalism and provide a way for them to report graffiti. In many cities, an 800 number, a dedicated telephone line, or a web site is established for this purpose. Respond promptly to reports of graffiti vandalism. 

Enforce anti-graffiti laws with in the City of Buffalo

Ensure that any existing anti-graffiti laws are being enforced. Law enforcement dedicated to tracking and apprehending graffiti vandals is a strong deterrent. A survey of arrested taggers found "fear of getting caught" was the top response when asked what would get them to stop tagging.

Educate Youth

Use the Graffiti Hurts® curriculum to incorporate graffiti education and prevention into classroom activities, after school programs, and youth group activities. 

Use an "adopt-a-spot" program with City Block Clubs and community organization

Buffalo will provide citizen volunteers with graffiti cleanup kits to keep an area they have "adopted" graffiti free. This program improves awareness and engages citizens in graffiti prevention.

Create a paint-brush mural

Use a community mural to restore a wall chronically hit with graffiti. Graffiti vandals rarely tag a paint-brush mural, and they are a great way to get the community involved in graffiti prevention. Murals can involve local artists, youth and community volunteers, and the local paint store, which may be willing to donate paint and brushes. 

Monitor graffiti-prone locations

Get the support of Buffalo law enforcement to step up police monitoring of locations that are frequently hit by graffiti. A few communities are using some type of security camera in areas that are frequently graffitied. Also consider organizing a "Block  Club" to keep an eye on targeted sites.

Enforce existing curfews laws

A national survey of police agencies found that the vast majority felt curfews were an effective tool to control vandalism, graffiti, nighttime burglary, and car theft. Most jurisdictions with curfews had them in effect for several years. A survey of 800 cities conducted by the National League of Cities found curfews effective for curbing gang violence as well.