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Neighbor to Neighbor: Help eliminate a worldwide plague: Graffiti

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C.A.G.E. stands for "Citizens Against Graffiti Everywhere." Although it is a fairly new organization, it is very vigorous. It's comprised of more than 35 civic groups, and growing daily.Together, working with various levels of government agencies, the members fight graffiti with a long-term strategic plan involving education - particularly education of youth--graffiti removal, paint-overs and removal of illegally posted commercial signs. C.A.G.E. members have witnessed the gradual deterioration of the appearance and quality of life of their communities with the onset of graffiti vandalism and rampant illegal posting of signs. They have tried by reasoning to abate the practices. The perpetrators have been so "in their faces" that they decided to confront these enemies of our communities. Thus C.A.G.E. was born.C.A.G.E. has room for everyone... one way or another. Those who want to cooperate can report graffiti or illegal posting in progress to "911" or illegal posting to "311"; photograph and identify location of graffiti for use by police, volunteer to help C.A.G.E.in your neighborhood, or donate money to help C.A.G.E. buy supplies. If you are interested in learning more, contact C.A.G.E., P.O. Box 300471, JFK Airport, Jamaica, N.Y. 11430. We hope you will want to join. Those who still want to be "in the face" of our communities and law enforcement will have the opportunity to find out what the results of their lack of cooperation are... from the inside of a law enforcement "cage." Be warned. C.A.G.E. would rather prevent trouble for anyone. Graffiti is a crime. Graffiti is not art. Graffiti is vandalism. Art that is commissioned (such as paintings or murals) is not graffiti. Unfortunately, experimental "free walls" for graffiti did not work. They only heightened the appetites of graffiti proponents who broke their agreement to limit their graffiti to assigned locations only. On Feb. 2, at a meeting with officers from the 112th Precinct in Forest Hills, members of C.A.G.E. learned that those officers work with high school representatives who can recommend good students who are willing and anxious to earn community service credit that will be beneficial for them when they want to apply for college. They told us they have never had any problem getting volunteer public or private high school students to help with graffiti cleanup projects. As our officers in southeast Queens have also told us, even hard, sometimes dirty work can be fun and be satisfying when everyone working together is respectful of each other and of their common goal. Elimination of graffiti and illegal posting of signs is a must...not only in our area but worldwide. Yes, it has become a worldwide problem and these arrogant vandals consider no place sacrosanct. As a result, laws that had been relevant have now been upgraded to more properly increase punishment for the crimes. District Attorney Richard Brown has given C.A.G.E. his assurance that his office is ready and anxious to cooperate in every way possible. Mayor Mike Bloomberg and Borough President Helen Marshall along with many other elected officials have been very outspoken against those who have chosen to trash our communities. We thank each and every one of them for their support. We particularly thank our NYPD for their hard work. Now that graffiti and illegal signage have become such a prominent target for arrests, every officer is anxious to make one of these arrests, which are always challenging. Graffiti writers are aware they are criminals. Graffiti is the "newspaper" of gangs. Gangs are dangerous to everyone, even their members. They cannot be allowed to grow. Know what your children are doing and with whom. Encourage them to participate in positive activities such as anti-graffiti cleanups and the anti-graffiti writing and art contest for students in grades K-12. They are invited to interpret the theme "Graffiti hurts" or "Why graffiti is bad for my neighborhood." For specifics, contact your school.

Posted 7:07 pm, October 10, 2011
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