Hill resident criticizes City’s graffiti removal

A Mission Hill resident is criticizing the City’s response to graffiti in the neighborhood, saying the previous administration did a better and quicker job of tackling the problem.

The Mayor’s Office responded that more than 85 percent of the graffiti complaints on Mission Hill have been resolved and that the City’s graffiti removal program “prides itself” on clearing graffiti “within 68 days” of a complaint.

Mission Hill resident Bob Francey said in an email to the Gazette that graffiti has been a problem for the neighborhood and Boston area for several years, but with the combined effort of the community, the City and law enforcement agencies, a “big dent” was put in the crime. He said that the previous Mayor Menino administration responded “within days or hours” to a report of graffiti.

Under the Menino administration, the Graffiti Busters program helped remove graffiti from neighborhoods. That program continues to exist in the administration of Mayor Martin Walsh, who took office in January.

But, Francey said, when he recently reported graffiti that was “highly visible” on buildings at 1534 and 1542 Tremont St., his calls to City Hall went unanswered for more than a month. He said he did not receive a reply until he contacted local elected officials. The graffiti was eventually removed.

“It took me countless years to get the City of Boston and Boston Police Department to be more attentive and accountable [to graffiti], and I won’t let a new administration be the reason for our undoing,” said Francey.

Melina Schuler, spokesperson for the City, said the Graffiti Busters program “prides itself on clearing the graffiti within 68 days from the time the notification for removal is received and the average response time is 17 days.”

“Since the beginning of 2014, the City of Boston has received 138 citizen notifications about graffiti in the Mission Hill neighborhood, and all but 17 of the cases are closed at this time,” she said. “The City of Boston’s Graffiti Busters program, like other City services are guided by basic tenets including accessibility, responsiveness and accountability, taking a multifaceted approach to addressing concerns.”

To report graffiti, call the Mayor’s Hotline at 617-635-4500 or see cityofboston.gov/mayor/24 for email, Twitter and phone app contacts.

Graffiti at 1542 Tremont St. (Courtesy Photo)

Graffiti at 1542 Tremont St. (Courtesy Photo)

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