Citizens For A Better Norwood

Friday, June 27, 2008

Citizens on Patrol: graffiti vandals’ worst nightmare

We suppose they think they’re clever, going around Norwood with spray paint and defacing property with their unsightly so-called graffiti “art” and coded messages. But now these vandals have met their match in Citizens on Patrol’s graffiti remediation program. With the removal of about 250 graffiti tags under their belt, COP volunteers have put out the “Graffiti Unwelcome Here” mat by erasing the stuff almost as soon as it appears.

So what’s the biggest weapon in the COP arsenal? Elephant Snot, of course. What, you're like us and didn't know about the wonders of Elephant Snot and how it “penetrates deeply into concrete, cement, brick, grout, stone, virtually anything porous to dissolve and loosen all types of tags?” It removes “spray paint graffities, marker, pen, ink, crayon, shoe polish, lipstick, pencil, and most other graffiti marks and stains.” Bill Graff, Vice President of West Norwood Neighborhood Association and a founder of Citizens on Patrol, says that “while Elephant Snot is expensive at $75.00 a gallon, it really does the job on spray paint removal. COP volunteers have used it to remove graffiti that was years old after failed attempts with other products.” He advises, of course, that it’s important to read and follow all safe use instructions.

Bill says one of their recent victories was removing the 6 or 7 year-old word “SEER” from the brick apartment building at the corner of Park and Forest. But the job is much easier if it’s tackled right after the graffiti appears. In several instances lately, his team has removed graffiti within 24 to 72 hours of the offense. And now there’s a Norwood ordinance that requires property owners to remove it within five days of its appearance. Lt. Tom Williams, Jr., sponsor of COPP, encourages the public to call the NPD’s non-emergency phone # 458-4520 to report graffiti sightings. If you see someone in the act, please try to give an accurate description of the suspect. Be on the lookout for the code words “COS” and “CRUST,” which he says are starting to pop up in a number of places throughout the city.

Both Bill Graff and Lt. Williams tell us COP volunteers can advise homeowners how to best remove graffiti from their property and will even perform the task for residents like senior citizens who either unable to do it themselves and/or can’t afford $75 for removal products. Residents will be asked to sign a liability waiver for removal as well make a small donation to COPP to help defray the cost of the chemicals. Before and after photos will be taken.

To report graffiti: Call the NPD at 458-4520.
Residents who need help with removal: Call Bill Graff at 371-6977 or Lt. Williams at 458-4545.