To the Editor:
I read with great interest the story, “Some color for Sunrise,” in last week’s Herald about artwork on the Long Island Rail Road trestle along Sunrise Highway.
I believe the story was missing some important information. First, while we appreciate community groups adopting our blocks and parks and covering graffiti, there is more to the story than that.
The village diligently watches for the spread of graffiti. When we find this scourge or if it is reported to us, we try, whenever possible, to remove or cover it and report it to the proper authorities as quickly as possible. Businesses, other public entities and homeowners are advised to maintain their property and remove graffiti as quickly as possible, and the village does its share to quickly remove graffiti from our public spaces.
In the case of the LIRR trestle, members of our workforce constantly check this property for signs of defacing. This effort tripled when a mural was placed there. Even though the mural was created without permission, we did not want to see it defaced, nor did we want to see it lead to the spread of other unauthorized works elsewhere.
Sadly, on a Saturday morning back in December, we found graffiti from Lynbrook all the way to the Valley Stream LIRR station. Our Parks Department was dispatched, and we had to remove and/or cover the graffiti. This was a taxpayer expense of time, labor and materials that certainly could have been better spent elsewhere.
Rest assured that the village did not paint over the mural. The following week, the LIRR painted over the entire area, including the mural, in a matching gray paint.
It is important to know that before graffiti is covered up, the Nassau County Police Department must be notified to respond to the scene to photograph and record the crime. Again, their time is certainly spent better elsewhere. If someone from the community is covering up graffiti without reporting it to the village or the police department, which monitor and track such crimes, this is an area of community activism gone awry. Graffiti is a crime for a reason.