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Masiello Expands Graffiti Crackdown

By Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – A crack down against a growing graffiti problem in Buffalo has been expanded. Mayor Anthony Maisello on Wednesday launched what he calls a "two pronged" attack.

Using a power washer, Masiello worked to blast off white paint on a dumpster in a parking lot on Connecticut Street. He said a graffiti task force will be expanded city-wide. Masiello is calling on every Buffalo neighborhood to help. Property owners, the state DOT and Postal Service are being asked to rid the city of graffiti.

"People feel violated," Masiello said. "They feel like someone has taken something way from them by damaging a wall, a mail box a wall or a home."

Masiello says Buffalo Police are trying to track down those responsible. A reward fund leading to the arrest and conviction of graffiti artists is now up to $6,000. State Assemblyman Sam Hoyt says merchants must also assist in the fight by not selling spray paint to young adults.

"Let's not try to make a profit off of those trying to destroy our community," Hoyt said. "Let's keep this product behind the counter so it can't be shop lifted. Let's not put in on sale, so people can't get it for dirt cheap. Let's use that as a preventive means from people destroying our community."

Some West Side teenagers were helping the city clean up a wall near Connecticut Street Wednesday. Alex Gonzalez has a message for any youth involved in destroying city property.

"Calm down and let it be," Alex said. "If they want to paint, let them get a piece of paper and a pen, and let them start doing their graffiti on paper."

Masiello has declared August as "graffiti clean up month." The city is seeking donations of paint from Home Depot and Sherwin Williams.

State Senator Byron Brown says he has secured crime prevention funding that he will apply to the clean up effort.