With all the attention the village government has recently placed on prompt graffiti removal, I wonder why it does not take responsibility for prompt removal of graffiti on village property and enforcement on property belonging to other government bodies.

On June 2, I called the Village Graffiti Hotline to report graffiti on a village-owned garbage receptacle on the southwest corner of Scoville and Lake, just outside the high school field. This could have been handled in one of two ways. The lid, on which the graffiti was scrawled, could have been removed and replaced with an unmarked lid, or the cleaning could have been done on the spot. In either case, it didn’t seem like a big job and one that could have been done relatively quickly.

On June 8, I noticed the graffiti had not been removed. I called village hall and got caught in voice mail hell as it was the weekend and there was no one to answer the phone. The one number I wanted, the Graffiti Hotline, was not listed. So I left a message for the village manager, thinking that would get action. Was I wrong? As of 7 p.m. on June 9, the graffiti was still there.

Later during the week of June 2, I also called to report graffiti on a U.S. Postal Service relay box on the corner of Fair Oaks and Iowa. This graffiti has been there for months. It faces oncoming traffic, and is next to a stop sign. So cars drive by there every day, many times a day, and see the graffiti when they look at the stop sign. By cars, I mean Village of Oak Park cars, such as the police, the Public Works Department, maybe even the village manager himself, to say nothing of the postal employees who use the box daily. But what can I really expect? They haven’t seen the same graffiti that has been on the box at Augusta and Fair Oaks for months either.

If you call the Graffiti Hotline to report graffiti that may be on parks property, you are told to call parks and recreation offices. There are many areas that are not clearly parks property, village property or school property.

But so what difference does it make? Shouldn’t these various bodies coordinate their attack on graffiti? Isn’t there value to the village to be aware of all incidents of graffiti, regardless of location? It should not be considered too much trouble, or “not my job,” for a village employee to call or e-mail their counterpart at parks and recreation or one of the school boards (or vice versa) to pass along needed information to keep the entire village safe, clean and secure for its residents.

Alan Peres

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