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Wondering when the Atlanta’s graffiti task force, which CL first reported late last year, was going to begin its quixotic mission to rid the city of unwanted scribbles, tags and uncommissioned murals?
According to the Atlanta Police Department, it starts today.
Atlanta’s “comprehensive graffiti eradication program,” which Police Chief George Turner officially announced this morning, includes the participation of City Hall department heads, court officials and community advocates to address the issue.
APD Public Affairs Manager Carlos Campos tells CL that the department’s component of enforcement includes assigning a full-time officer who once patrolled Zone 6 — specifically the Little Five Points area — to spend all his time to “proactively [working] with the community to identify unwanted graffiti and pursue arrests.” The officer, who will also investigate who’s behind persistent tags and graffiti, is part of the APD’s Community-Oriented Policing Section, or COPS, which focuses on littering, panhandling and other quality-of-life issues.
Campos stresses that the department isn’t looking to crack down on artistic expression or commissioned artists. Or, for that matter, legitimate street artists.
“We recognize that there is a line between artistic expression that’s wanted and straight-out vandalism,” Campos says. “And if you’re a vandal, you’re going to jail. It’s a felony.”
He continues: “We want to work and define where artwork is not wanted. My understanding is that there have been pieces of graffiti that have been liked by the community. If that’s the consensus and as long as property owner is OK with it, then we’re not going to effect arrests.”
via APD rolls out ‘graffiti eradication program,’ assigns full-time officer to pursue arrests | Atlanta A&E Blog | Atlanta Galleries, Visual Arts, Theater | Culture Surfing | Creative Loafing Atlanta.