Friday, November 9, 2012

Graffiti Tracker Program For Chicago?

                With little to no consequences why would taggers fear prosecution? Right now they don't. For many its seen as a rite of passage, a harmless juvenile preoccupation that they will outgrow. But who pays for the cost? The city and the taxpayers. For example this writer tried to file a police report on a known local tagger who shall rename nameless (why give them any screen time or the attention they so desperately crave.) The first question the cops ask is, "Is it on your property?"and the followup question is "Did you see who did it?". Often times the answers are No and No. Does that mean that its not important or that we don't know who did it? Of course not. Even in an instance where you know who did it you will not be able to file a police report here in Chicago..

Graffiti Blasters on the move.

             Graffiti Blasters is a great city program. According to Wikipedia Graffiti Blasters was started in 1993 under Richard M Daley at an annual cost of 4 million dollars, this cost rose to 10 million dollars in 2010. With budget constraints the Graffiti Blasters program has seen cuts recently and has like Trash Removal moved to a ward system. Hard numbers are always difficult to pin down especially with news reports. The Sun Times article recently mentioned that the program was cut 25% down to 4 million a year. In the article City Hall claims that the system is more efficient and they are able to "knock out" a lot more graffiti each day . But there are no financial consequences or jail time for the taggers and the city taxpayers are footing the bill. 

                 The Graffiti Tracker program is not a replacement for the Graffiti Blasters program. It would work as an adjunct to help recoup some of the costs of graffiti removal and help in the prosecution of the worst vandals, which would save the city money. The cost to the city of Carson, CA is just shy of twenty thousand a year. They have been able to recoup almost fifty thousand dollars from fines resulting from the data captured. Looking at this as a citizen at large in a major city one can see the benefits of such a program. It doesn't cost a lot of money, it would almost certainly reduce the cost of graffiti removal (by arresting taggers who just wont stop) and would bring in some monies from the families or perpetrators themselves.

Screenshot of Graffiti Tracker

          According to the Daily Breeze article covering this Graffiti Tracker program it works like this. There are GPS digital cameras at secret locations capturing footage where the tagging occurs, so that later this can be uploaded onto the computer. The data is then studied and collated and law enforcement can see whether they are dealing with lone taggers or graffiti crews. Using the data it can be estimated how much damage each vandal is responsible for which can be staggering. This is key to actual prosecution. Remember the cop's question (Did you see it happen?). A public service manager is quoted as stating that new taggers are seen and studied, but that you don't have the taggers who have been at it for years and years. "The serial graffiti artist in this town (Carson, CA) doesn't last too long" says Manager Ray Cruz is quoted as saying in the Daily Breeze. 

1 comment:

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