TAG stands for Totally Against Graffiti
It is a group of volunteer Carrick residents that give their time to remove graffiti in our neighborhood. It was formed in September 2009 and is made up of appx 25 volunteers that are dedicated to removing tags from businesses and structures throughout Carrick.
Since our initial paint out in September 2009, we have accomplished a great deal.
A quick review of the past 4 months of TAG activity include:
- Painting 24 old green trash cans to the color black along the corridor of Brownsville Rd. that were ridden with graffiti to match new cans that were placed by the City of Pittsburgh and the CCC.
- TAG volunteers removed or painted appx. 30 tags of graffiti along Brownsville Rd.
- Working in conjunction with the Patty Chavez, and the Graffiti Busters at the Public Works Department. They have graciously removed appx. 20 graffiti tag since September on various buildings, businesses, structures, and 4 Churches by high pressure washing. This is a huge help since TAG does not have these resources.
- Also, TAG is working with the great team of the graffiti task force that consists of the detectives: Sullivan, Rende, and Sloan. They work diligently in supporting TAG by tracking tags to build cases against vandals for prosecution. Also, they are having assemblies at Pittsburgh Carrick High School and Pittsburgh Brashear High School in January to address the students about graffiti regarding graffiti. Also, Pittsburgh South Brook 6-8 has agreed to have the graffiti task force to do their graffiti presentation, and will contact TAG with availability.
- Councilman Bruce Kraus made TAG aware of a graffiti trust fund that he himself had implemented years ago that was restitution money to be used for the fight against graffiti. Requested money from Public Safety Department, and TAG was considered and approved by the Public Safety Director for $500.00 to be used for graffiti related issues. This much needed and appreciated money will be used for removal supplies, signage, educational materials, possible surveillance, etc.
- Detectives with the Graffiti Task Force have been interested and passionate about removing graffiti from mailboxes, and trying to get permission from the US Postal Service to do so. Under current law, it is a federal offense to remove graffiti from mailboxes. However, TAG has recently come across an article that in Bakersfield, CA. that won approval from the US Postal Service to remove graffiti from mailboxes. TAG is currently working with the graffiti task force and many others within the city including: City Councilman Bruce Kraus, City Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak, Graffiti Busters, Steve Root with South Side Graffiti Watch , and many others in trying to secure this in our neighborhood, and the entire city. Presently, the detectives will be contacting detectives in Bakersfield, CA that helped secure approval. TAG will be contacting US Postal Service representative, and is in the process of contacting US Congressman Mike Doyle in hopes of his support. What the graffiti task force is doing is crucial. Research indicates that by getting law enforcement involved with graffiti related crimes, and educating the youth has been proven to drastically reduce graffiti crime.
- TAG is researching addresses of property owners and businesses that have been tagged to obtain permission to remove. Also, researching empty storefront owners to obtain permission and cooperation to possibly implement an art project with “faux paintings” of businesses that we would like to see in Carrick that would include rental contact information. TAG is hoping to reduce graffiti this way, as well as, revitalizing our business district and community.
- TAG is continuing to rapidly remove graffiti with weather permitting. Also, TAG is taking photos of all tags which are sent to the graffiti task force to be added to their database.
- Planning an upcoming exclusive graffiti TAG meeting with guest city speakers. TAG will also be preparing for Spring, and hopefully have volunteers and businesses “adopt a spot” along Brownsville Rd to remove and report graffiti. TAG plans on moving onto secondary streets, as soon as possible.
It is vital to send a message to vandals that Carrick will not tolerate graffiti and the destruction of our properties. As residents, property owners, and businesses of a community, we need to work together in eradicating graffiti in our neighborhood.
Graffiti decreases our property values, invites more serious crimes, drives away possible new businesses and residents, hinders our business district, takes away the hopes of revitalization, and virtually robs us of our spirit and pride of this great neighborhood.
If you are interested in being a part of a great volunteer opportunity, please contact:
Thank you for your time and support.