Mayoral candidate and retired NYPD captain Eric Adams said the recent proliferation of graffiti leads to increased crime — and pledged to scrub the city of the eyesores if he wins the election.
“Ignoring defacements and other quality-of-life violations only allows lawlessness to spread, and we can’t let that happen,” Adams told The Post when asked to comment on the newspaper’s front page story about a scourge of scrawlings in Soho.
“We can’t go back to the ’70s and ’80s when the graffiti assault was the norm,” Adams said.
“We have seen an ugly rise in graffiti cropping up on houses, storefronts, sidewalks, and even government buildings,” he said.
“It was a mistake when the city zeroed out funding for graffiti removal, and I have partnered with local civic groups in recent months to take on illegal vandalism.
De Blasio cut the graffiti eradication program from the budget last year amidst the coronavirus pandemic, even though it was just a $3 million sliver of an $88 billion spending plan.
And while some graffiti proponents argue that the tags are artwork, Adams said they’re different than street murals.
“While I appreciate the amazing street murals throughout our city, when graffiti tags are spray-painted onto public and private property, it’s not art; it’s an affront to communities that worked so hard to beautify their neighborhoods.
“We need to promote open spaces more suited to the commission of murals and artistic expression, while bringing communities, government, and artists together to combat graffiti,” he said.
A spokesman for fellow mayoral candidate Andrew Yang also denounced the city’s graffiti problem.
“Right next to mountains of trash and dirty streets, graffiti covering small businesses are just the latest example of how quality of life in our city has deteriorated while Mayor de Blasio and his administration watch and do nothing,” Yang said.
“It’s yet another example of why we need a change in leadership and a fresh start for New Yorker who just want a clean, safe city,” Yang told The Post.
A rep for Kathryn Garcia, de Blasio’s former Sanitation commissioner who is a frontrunner in the polls alongside Adams and Yang for the June 22 Democratic mayoral primary, did not return a message seeking comment.
De Blasio said during his daily press briefing Thursday that he’d have his $234 million Cleanup Corps tackle the job of removing graffiti — but warned New Yorkers they wouldn’t see a big change until July or August.
Metro | New York Post