Graffiti Increase: Return To Dark Days?

The New York Police Department is reporting that graffiti complaints had jumped 24% in the past year, as of October 12. Citywide complaints are said to have increased from 6,947 to 8,635. Though insiders are skeptical of the 24% jump in complaints, it is clear that globally and citywide, graffiti is becoming increasingly mainstream – leading more people to notice it, and perhaps report it. (Pictured is graffiti under the Manhattan Bridge.) “Thirty or 40 years ago, graffiti meant the neighborhood was broken: prostitution and gang activity and drug activity and unsafe streets,” said Levy. “And today, street art, which is like graffiti with a college degree, means that neighborhoods have pour-over coffee shops and artisanal wood-fired pizza restaurants and safer streets and higher rent.” Levy also thinks that the increased appreciation and encouragement of graffiti has a trickle-down effect because more people think they can get away with it if they see something like a large mural being commissioned in the neighborhood.

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