October 16, 2012

Mayor Emanuel Announces Significant Expansion of Graffiti Program In 2013 Budget

Investment Allows City to Address an Additional 40,000 Requests in 2013; Increase Graffiti Crews by 25 Percent

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

CHICAGO - Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced today that the City will significantly increase its investment in combatting graffiti in 2013 by adding resources to address 40,000 more graffiti removal requests.

 “Graffiti vandalism does not just deface property, it can impact residents’ perception of safety, hurt businesses and diminish a community’s quality of life,” said Mayor Emanuel.   “By adding additional crews, we can deploy extra resources to the communities that are plagued with graffiti, as we work to keep neighborhoods clean and safe for our residents.” 

In 2012, the Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation (DSS) implemented a “blitz” approach within its graffiti program, which enabled the City to utilize resources in the most efficient way possible.  Since graffiti crews began working in a grid system in February 2012, they have increased their daily productivity by 30 percent.  DSS currently has 12 blaster crews and seven paint crews.  In 2013, DSS will add five painters to its graffiti removal program, increasing its graffiti crews by 25 percent.  As of September 30, graffiti crews have completed more than 82,000 graffiti removal jobs this year - more than twice the number of calls for graffiti service received by 311.

“Over the past year, we’ve implemented significant systematic reforms in our graffiti program which have supported our efforts to work smarter and harder for residents,” said Commissioner Thomas G. Byrne, Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation.  “By adding resources in 2013, we can continue to build on our achievements and substantially increase our response to graffiti throughout the city.”

These additional resources were discussed today when the City’s Budget Director Alex Holt, Comptroller Amer Ahmad and Chief Financial Officer Lois Scott presented the 2013 budget proposal - with no new taxes, fees or fines - to the City Council’s Budget Committee.

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