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    Council Gets City Mgt. Report On Graffiti Removal; Two Councilmembers & Mayor Comment; We Post Quotes

    (February 25, 2003) -- At the Feb. 25 City Council meeting, city management presented a report describing City Hall's graffiti removal efforts. previously posted the city staff report by Deputy City Manager & Acting Director Public Works Christine Shippey and LB Police Chief Anthony Batts accompanying the agenda item. (For's previous coverage, click here).

    During his verbal presentation, Chief Batts said:

    "Every officers has a responsibility that works in a beat unit to report graffiti on a regular basis to our Com [communications] center. We recorded about a thousand different graffiti incidents in a monthly basis. Our arrests stats show from the year 2000 we made 146 arrests for graffiti; 2001, we made 161 arrests for graffiti; in 2002, we made 230 arrests for graffiti. Currently we have two detectives assigned permanently full time to the enforcement and follow up of graffiti...We also do regular weekly warrant sweeps. Currently, we have 17 active warrants that are outstanding...

    In the coming months, we're going to ask for an additional program, as we do Neighborhood Watch and community related services, we're going to ask for volunteers to assist, to help in paint outs with community policing in the policies that we're doing in each community."

    After hearing city management's report, two Councilmembers and the Mayor spoke:

    Councilman Val Lerch: "I believe that the foundation of public safety is to remove graffiti from the neighborhoods...[Commends city staff for removing graffiti he spotted and reported within four hours of his phone call to graffiti hotline: 570-2773]"

    Councilwoman Reyes-Uranga: "...[I]n the Wrigley area, we've noted that there's been just an incredible increase in the amount of graffiti in the area...[I]'d also like to challenge a lot of the neighborhood associations to do some neighborhood work crews so that just as they do alley clean ups and street clean ups that they might want to be able to go out and do some graffiti paint outs. We could help organize those at the Council level..."

    Mayor O'Neill: "...I also think that we should be alarmed that since the year 2000, we've gone up about 87% in graffiti; I think it's gone down a little at the last quarter, but the fact that we have more graffiti than we have had in the past is something that should alarm all of us...I thank you very much for this report. This is something that we all need to be aware of, and I agree with Tonia that we have to have involved citizens because they have the eyes and ears in places that sometimes are not seen by all..."

    There were no public comments on the item. A motion was made and passed unanimously to receive and file the report.

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