According to a new report, graffiti is up 305% in the Ridgewood, Glendale and Middle Village neighborhoods in Queens. (If it were street art this may seal the deal on Ridgewood's rise to the next "it" neighborhood! Baby steps.) According to the Daily News, spray paint complaints were down in the five boroughs last year, but police in the 104th Precinct received 800 graffiti complaints, which is up 305% from the 262 of 2009. However, this may have to do with the fact that last year the annual budget for a graffiti removal program in Ridgewood was drastically reduced.
The owner of Myrtle Discount Auto Parts in Ridgewood told the paper a "lowlife" recently tagged his storefront with the letters RIP; he said, "I complained, and they got [him]. He shouldn't be doing this. He lives in the neighborhood. We pay taxes. We want to have a nice life here."
City Council member and hater of graffiti, Peter Vallone Jr., says he believes "graffiti is up" even outside of his borough of Queens, noting, "There are less police on the streets. When vandals see that, they become emboldened, and it leads to other crimes."
The rest of the city saw a 3% decline in graffiti complaints—with 9,850 overall, down from 10,162 in 2009. (Though some neighborhoods, like Chinatown and Coney Island, saw an upswing in the visual vandalism.)