(Courtesy of Keep Akron Beautiful)
So far this year, Keep Akron Beautiful’s free public property graffiti removal service has eradicated unwanted markings from 23 public sites thanks to the help of Akron residents and employees who made reports. Last year at this time the number was 54 sites. Private property is even lower at 0, with last year’s number at 17 sites.
A Keep America Beautiful affiliate with 34 years of service, Keep Akron Beautiful operates a free public, low-cost private graffiti removal service within the city. It is a program that everyone is involved in, from residents to Akron Police to city department personnel, all of whom take part in reporting public graffiti through the City of Akron 311 or Keep Akron Beautiful.
“We have seen a decrease in numbers, for which we are grateful,” said Jacqui Flaherty-Ricchiuti, executive director and CEO, “because this could mean the program is in fact working to reduce the graffiti in our city. However, we want to remind citizens of this free public, low-cost private service that coincides with our community improvement mission.”
For private property graffiti removal only, the fee is normally $50 a job. Larger, time-consuming jobs could be priced higher. All removals are done with a high-powered sodium bicarbonate blaster. Solvents and/or paint may also be used, especially for public removal in the city parks.
While graffiti is thought to be associated strictly with gangs, the agency wants residents to know that the majority of graffiti in Akron has actually been classified as tag-type graffiti, a marking (usually a vandal’s alias) that is seen repetitively, or generic graffiti, which is random, non-threatening markings with no particular style and that can include profanity. Gang graffiti, on the other hand, usually involves numbers, symbols and letters that mean something only to gang members or the Gang Unit of the Akron Police Department.
No matter what type, graffiti can really mar community areas, especially playgrounds and parks. By reporting graffiti as soon as possible, it can be removed quickly which really helps in its prevention, according to the Keep America Beautiful’s www.GraffitiHurts.org website.
As such, Keep Akron Beautiful is encouraging all citizens to report it when you see it by calling 311 at (330) 375-2311 or their agency directly at (330) 375-2116.
For info, visit www.keepakronbeautiful.org.