NYPD launches graffiti cleanup initiative across NYC

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- A graffiti cleanup campaign by the NYPD launches Saturday across New York City.

Volunteers met at their local precinct station houses in the morning, then headed to different locations to paint over graffiti that was previously reported to police.

NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea thanked the participants including community volunteers, auxiliary police officers and cadets, members of the Law Enforcement Explorers Program and the Police Athletic League.

"I took a drive over here just now, and we have a lot of work to do, that's the bottom line" Shea said. "A lot of work to do, a lot of graffiti to clean up, but it's a time to roll up our sleeve, getting to it."

They used paint donated by local businesses.

The NYPD says the initiative will both help the police department identify graffiti for investigative purposes and to improve the look of the neighborhoods.

"This is how we build bridges and create trust," Chief of Community Affairs Jeffrey Maddrey said.

The police department received more than 6,000 complaints last year about public and private property damaged by graffiti.

On Tuesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the city would be adding 10,000 jobs with the newly created City Cleanup Corps.

Also on April 4, Suffolk County Police Hate Crimes Unit detectives discovered anti-Semitic symbols and words that were found carved into playground equipment at Setauket Elementary School.

"I am appalled at media reports on the discovery of anti-Semitic graffiti on Setauket Elementary School's playground equipment on Long Island," Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. "This hateful graffiti is diametrically opposed to the values of tolerance and understanding that are pillars of the society we've built in New York State, and the fact that it was found in a place of learning for young children makes it even more disturbing. I am directing the New York State Police Hate Crimes Task Force to immediately offer assistance in the investigation being conducted by the Suffolk County Police Department's Hate Crimes Unit, and I look forward to seeing the people responsible for this crime brought to justice."

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