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11/9/2007
Public involvement in anti-graffiti efforts is worth supporting

OUR VIEW Wilmington News Journal November 9, 2007

Graffiti tagged on buildings and highway overpasses is irritating and objectionable. It can encourage even more defacement if those responsible see that no one reacts to remove it in a timely fashion.

New Castle County Councilman Robert Weiner thinks a citizen brigade to combat graffiti -- and litter -- is a way to handle the problem and has launched a Brandywine Hundred group to do that. It follows recent graffiti-related arrests in Newark and New Castle County.

Volunteers will be broken into teams that include adults and children who will report when they find graffiti. The idea is to quickly paint over surfaces with the hope that keeping areas clean will diffuse vandalism.

It might be a reach. It might not work. But any public attempt to eliminate unsightly graffiti in communities is worth supporting. Pride, Councilman Weiner points out, benefits everyone.

Anti-graffiti brigade looks for volunteers
Teams will report cases in Brandywine Hundred to police

By ALAN J. McCOMBS, The News Journal
Posted Thursday, November 8, 2007

 
A citizens brigade formed to combat graffiti and litter held its first meeting Wednesday, hoping to recruit more members.

The launch of the Brandywine Hundred group, formed by Republican New Castle County Councilman Bob Weiner, follows a series of graffiti-related arrests in Newark and New Castle County in recent weeks.

Volunteers in the brigade will be divided into four separate teams, each composed of about 24 children and adults tasked with reporting graffiti on public property, Weiner said. After law enforcement documents the damage, brigade members will paint over it.

Doing so quickly will snuff out further acts of vandalism in the area, said Anglesey community resident Isaac Walker.

"If we go and paint over it in 24 hours, they're not going to paint it again," said Walker, a captain of one team covering the Greenville area.

Wednesday night's meeting included addresses from representatives of the Delaware State Police, New Castle County Police, Crime Stoppers and Delaware's Department of Transportation on ways area residents can help the state fight tagging as well as litter.

"Everything that you do requires a little cooperation between different agencies," said Delaware State Police Capt. Patrick Ogden.

If the group is successful both Weiner and law enforcement see potential beyond the Brandywine Hundred area.

With roughly 20 people at Wednesday's meeting, the group is still looking for members for its four teams, but two teams are scheduled to start within the next month, Weiner said.

"I'd like to see citizens take up more of a sense of ownership and pride in the community," Weiner said.

Anyone interested in volunteering with the group can contact Weiner's office at 395-8362.
Contact Alan J. McCombs at 324-2866 or amccombs@delawareonline.com.

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