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Editorial: Stop ignoring Schenectady graffiti (with photo gallery)

Sunday, May 1, 2011
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House at Hattie Street and Foster Avenue
House at Hattie Street and Foster Avenue

In early April there was a graffiti spree in Schenectady’s Stockade, an area you wouldn’t expect to find those ugly spray-painted scrawls, obscenities and gang tags that are graffiti-ists’ claim to fame, territory, or whatever it is they’re after. The fact that one of the city’s best neighborhoods has this problem shows just how serious and pernicious it has become in Schenectady.

Like derelict houses and buildings, which often feature it, graffiti is a blight on neighborhoods, detracting from their quality of life, encouraging more graffiti, vandalism and other crimes, including drug- and violence-related ones. Yet, despite the fact that neighborhood improvement has supposedly been a priority of the City Council the last few years, no serious attention has been paid to graffiti. Nor have mayoral candidates Gary McCarthy (the council president) and Roger Hull (who as Union College president helped launched the volunteer-based beautification project Schenectady 2000, and had Union students painting over graffiti) been talking about it.

Perhaps a Schenectady 2000-type effort devoted to graffiti is the answer. This might be undertaken by some new group, or by the various neighborhoods working together. There could be two citywide graffiti cleanups each year, in spring and fall, with volunteers supplying the labor and the city the paint. The paint could be a few generic shades — beige, green, brick-red — and come from donated paint, collected, mixed and stored at the new city garage.

The rest of the year, spot graffiti cleanup could be performed by Boy Scout groups, students looking to do community service, prisoners at the county jail and, for true justice, those caught at graffiti (and police should make more of an effort to do that).

The city should also consider setting up a graffiti hotline or a place on its Website for reporting graffiti and, ideally, photos of it. Like the photo accompanying this editorial, and similar ones posted on our Web site. It’s hard to look at this stuff and not want to get out there with a can of paint and brush.

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May 1, 2011
7:51 a.m.
dagiacalone says...

For close-up shots of graffiti on over a dozen Stockade properties go to

You are right that the Police Department should give graffiti a higher priority. And, we need more citizens willing to give tips to the police or their Neighborhood Watch group about graffiti suspects.

But, please don't paint over or blot out graffiti on private property without asking the owner.

May 1, 2011
8:55 a.m.

How come the Gazette writes when it effects their neighborhood....The Graffiti is through out the city in every neighborhood...Just because one of the editors lives in the Stockade he takes notice of the Graffiti because it has reached the city's so called best neighborhood...(Every Neighborhood in this City is Unique and Special to me).They did a picture spread on the web news site and they took pictures of Goose Hill and Erie Blvd. Graffiti....They could of took pictures of every neighborhood right now and they would find it every 10 feet....Every Neighborhood should be important..Geez when the Stockade gets hit then they start rumbling about neighborhood issues...Instead of writing all the good stories about Downtown...They need to wake up beyond the Stockade, Union St. Union College areas of the city.....

May 2, 2011
12:56 a.m.
DougPeek says...

This has been going on way too long. Thanks for bringing this up. Add Central Park. Grafiti and vandalism that does not get cleaned up until long after you complain.Despite the county/city workers driving by it to get to their administration building. Makes you want to take the $7,000 taxes you give them each year and move out. And it tells visitors to the crown jewel this city is possibly a nice place to visit but you definitely dont want to live here if it screams urban blight.

One major city landlord with 12 downtown state street properties has a 1 hour policy for cleanup. Once they discover Grafiti it is cleaned up in an hour. They get very few tags as word gets out it will be gone right away.

May 2, 2011
10:07 a.m.

Amen! Doug....No one wants to live here except the ones benefiting off of us supporting them.

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