Graffiti complaints are down in Chicago amid stepped-up effort to fight tagging

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A city worker cleansg up graffiti. | Provided photo

Complaints about graffiti to the city of Chicago are down this year, as City Hall has stepped up efforts to curb tagging vandalism.

In the first five months of the year, the city got 12,614 calls to 311 complaining about graffiti, according to Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation data. That’s down 29 percent from the 17,792 calls during the same period in 2017 to do something about graffiti.

City Hall has made graffiti-removal a bigger priority. Through May, crews were sent out to take down graffiti 50,957 times during the first five months of this year, up from 42,485 in the same period last year — an increase of about 20 percent.

Streets and Sanitation spokeswoman Marjani Williams says the boost in graffiti-busting has been helped by the use of a grid system that takes crews through five wards a day, giving them more of an opportunity to “proactively address” graffiti.

Last year, the city increased its graffiti-fighting fleet to 22 vehicles with the addition of three graffiti-removal crew trucks and two chemical removal trucks.

It now takes city crews an average of four days to respond to graffiti complaints.

Between June 1, 2017 and May 31, the city cleaned up graffiti 116,798 times. The five community areas with the most cleanups were:

• West Town (including Wicker Park and Ukrainian Village): 10,596.

• Logan Square: 8,989.

• Lower West Side (including Pilsen): 5,809.

• South Lawndale (including Little Village): 5,480.

• Brighton Park: 5,469.

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