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Frank Ferry: There’s nothing cool about graffiti

Posted: January 31, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: January 31, 2014 2:00 a.m.
 

As a principal, father, and member of the City Council, I can tell you firsthand that environment and behavior go hand in hand. If we want the best students, we must provide an environment that supports learning, connectivity with quality educators and opportunities to study.

Here in the city of Santa Clarita, if we want to maintain a clean, safe city we must be vigilant about keeping our streets, neighborhoods and public spaces graffiti-free with a zero-tolerance policy.

In 2007 the city of Santa Clarita launched the Graffiti Task Force to help support a safe community, desirable aesthetics and a high quality of life. The Graffiti Task Force quickly removes graffiti, works with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department to arrest and prosecute graffiti vandals, coordinates beautification projects and conducts community outreach to local schools and community groups about the importance of not being a tagger.

The team collaborates with local agencies including the William S. Hart Union School District, Los Angeles County Public Works, Cal Trans, Department of Water and Power, Santa Clarita Water District, California Highway Patrol and College of the Canyons to eliminate graffiti in Santa Clarita.

I often hear residents say they didn’t know Santa Clarita had a graffiti problem, which I think is a compliment to city staff and its partners. Unfortunately, graffiti continues to happen in our city. In 2013, the Graffiti Task Force removed 34 percent more graffiti tags when compared to 2012.

You may be wondering – how can I help? The following are a few ways you can get involved in eliminating graffiti in your community.

Be a graffiti Volunteer

The Graffiti Task Force relies heavily on the efforts of community volunteers to remove graffiti.

One example is the Paseo Patrol Volunteer Program, whereby residents report and remove graffiti along the paseos and trails. Since this program began, volunteers have removed more than 1,300 tags along Lyons Avenue, in Old Orchard I and II, and along the South Fork and San Francisquito Creek trails.

The city also relies on tips from the public. The goal is to remove reported graffiti within 24 hours, which means tips and leads are critical. Residents can report graffiti several ways, including the graffiti hotline at (661) 25-CLEAN (661-252-5326) and the eService mobile application.

When calling the graffiti hotline, simply leave a detailed message providing the location of the property and your contact information. The eService application is free to download and allows users to upload a photo, share the exact location, add comments and receive an e-notification from staff once the graffiti is removed.

Best of all, eService works for a host of other things you might want to report to the city, including potholes, street lighting, tree maintenance and so much more.

Talk to Your Kids

One of the best things parents, grandparents and teachers can do is talk to kids about the negative effects of graffiti, not just in their community, but in their lives.

The city has worked with the school district to provide presentations about the consequences of graffiti to more than 2,000 students since 2010 and these efforts will continue in 2014.

A variety of videos are available on the City’s website at Santa-Clarita.com and on the City’s YouTube channel, which you can access on the website. These videos include overviews about how graffiti harms the community, but also include interviews with taggers whose lives were changed because they were convicted and now have felonies on their records.

These are great tools that can be used to jump-start conversations about what to do if your kids feel pressured to tag and positive outlets for creativity that help, not hurt.

We all appreciate coming home to a clean, safe, graffiti-free community and it is everyone’s responsibility to be a part of the solution. I want to thank all of you who have already taken the time to volunteer with the City and those who have reported graffiti – your efforts help make Santa Clarita a sought-after place to live and visit.

Frank Ferry is a member of the Santa Clarita City Council and can be reached at fferry@santa-clarita.com.

 

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