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Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced today that graffiti removal crews with the Department of Streets and Sanitation (DSS) have improved response times and will now respond to all graffiti removal requests within five days or less. The ability to remove graffiti quicker in every neighborhood in Chicago is the result of a comprehensive strategy that includes additional graffiti removal resources, continued enhancements to removal operations and vandalism prevention.
“No neighborhood should ever have to tolerate graffiti – it lowers property values, diminishes a community’s sense of safety and degrades the quality of life of our residents,” said Mayor Emanuel. “By working in a smarter, more effective and more efficient manner, city crews can remove graffiti faster for residents in all of Chicago’s neighborhoods.”
Along with removing all graffiti requests more quickly, DSS announced that the graffiti removal backlog has been eliminated, enabling crews to spend more time removing new graffiti.
With rapid removal helping to deter graffiti vandalism, calls for service from residents have declined by 13 percent in 2015. Calls for graffiti removal services have decreased from 53,676 in the first five months of 2014 to 46,719 in the first five months of 2015.
“The City is constantly improving the delivery of service in graffiti removal through grid removal operations,” said DSS Commissioner Charles L. Williams. “With efficiency gains and additional resources, crews are rapidly removing graffiti citywide ensuring the vandalism is seen by fewer people, which serves as a significant deterrent for future vandals.”
In 2014, Mayor Emanuel invested nearly $1 million in additional funding for graffiti removal in the DSS budget. This funding supports three more graffiti removal crews and two new chemical removal trucks that joined the fleet in fall 2014. A total of four chemical removal trucks are now part of the City’s graffiti removal fleet.
As part of a comprehensive approach to deter future graffiti vandals, the City Council approved an amendment in summer 2014 to the Municipal Code that increases vandalism fines from $750 to no less than $1,500 and no more than $2,500 for each graffiti offense. The amendment also increases fines for any person caught vandalizing public property from no less than $500 and no more than $1,000. Fines for vandalism have remained unchanged for nearly a decade.
To see graffiti removal crews in action watch a video on the City’s Graffiti Removal Program HERE.
Graffiti removal is a free service offered by the City of Chicago. The graffiti program work with aldermen, community groups, block clubs, chambers of commerce and residents to respond to reports of graffiti. Residents who would like to report graffiti can call 311, or visit www.cityofchicago.org/dss.