FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Wednesday, October 18, 2007
Lindy Eichenbaum Lent, Mayor’s Office
Mayor Hickenlooper Hosts Denver Graffiti Summit
(DENVER) Mayor John Hickenlooper convened a graffiti summit Wednesday attracting more than 200 attendees from the public- and private-sectors, nonprofits and neighborhood groups, to examine local graffiti-related challenges and solutions from all angles. Summit attendees heard updates on the current state of graffiti in Denver and the City’s existing efforts to mitigate it; viewed presentations on successful programs in San Jose, Albuquerque and Philadelphia; and participated in roundtable discussions about opportunities related to graffiti prevention, abatement and enforcement.
“Graffiti was one of the top concerns raised by residents attending our Partnership Denver: Neighbors Building Solutions listening sessions earlier this year,” Hickenlooper said. “We believe a comprehensive strategic approach – based on proven best practices and community collaboration – is the key to successfully addressing this costly public nuisance and safety concern. We are excited about the opportunities this summit represents to make a substantive difference in tackling this longstanding community issue.”
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, graffiti is the most common type of vandalism seen in communities across the country. In the past year alone, the City of Denver has seen a 50 percent increase in the number of graffiti abatement requests – largely due to increased marketing of its graffiti hotline. Graffiti is a very costly form of vandalism that, according to the National Crime Prevention Council, is estimated to cost U.S. communities more than $8 billion a year to address. Denver spends more than $1 million a year to remove graffiti from public and private property. If graffiti is not removed, it invites more graffiti and sends the message that the community is not concerned about its appearance or its safety, potentially inviting more criminal activity.
Mayor Hickenlooper announced to attendees that the summit’s discussions will lay the groundwork for a Denver Graffiti Task Force, whose work will begin in the coming weeks once its composition is finalized. To be chaired by District 3 Councilwoman Rosemary Rodriguez, the Task Force will be charged with making comprehensive recommendations for improvements in the way Denver deals with graffiti vandalism. In addition to developing creative strategies and policy and procedural improvements around graffiti prevention, abatement and enforcement, the Task Force members will also work to identify potential resources and partnerships for these efforts.
“As Chair of the Graffiti Task Force, I can assure the Mayor that we will operate with a willingness to consider any and all best practices and innovative ideas that will lead to curtailing graffiti and its destructive blight,” Rodriguez said.
The Mayor’s Summit on Graffiti was sponsored by Denver Public Works/Solid Waste Management, Denver Office of Cultural Affairs, Denver Partners Against Graffiti and Xcel Energy.
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