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Keep America Beautiful's Graffiti Prevention Competition Awards Cash and Prizes to Three Cities

Submitted by: Keep America Beautiful

Categories: Community Development

Posted: Nov 28, 2006 – 08:00 AM EST


Nov. 28 /CSRwire/ - STAMFORD, CONN. - November 28, 2006 - Keep America Beautiful, Inc. today announced three winners in the 2006 Graffiti Hurts® National Award competition:

  • Keep Dallas Beautiful, Dallas, TX (Communities greater than 300,000 population);
  • Together Against Graffiti, El Mirage, AZ (Communities less than 300,000 population); and
  • Celebrate the Arts, Wilmington, NC (Paint brush mural).

    Cities that took top honors were successful in bringing together community partners and engaging citizen volunteers in the fight against graffiti.

    "Wherever it occurs, graffiti vandalism sends an unspoken message that a community is in decline," said G. Raymond Empson, president of Keep America Beautiful. "By eradicating existing graffiti, and preventing new attacks, communities can reduce crime, raise property values, and significantly improve local quality-of-life. The Graffiti Hurts® National Awards serve as a showcase of the best and most creative efforts of people and organizations that are taking action to prevent blight."

    Graffiti Hurts® was developed in 1997 through a partnership between Keep America Beautiful, the nation's largest nonprofit education and community improvement organization, and The Sherwin-Williams Company (NYSE: SHW), maker of Krylon paint. Graffiti Hurts® provides community resources and educational tools, and promotes best practices for graffiti prevention.

    Winning programs receive a cash award of up to $1,000, a plaque, and graffiti prevention prizes. Winners in the community "under 300,000" and "over 300,000" populations each receive a FlashCAM-880 Wireless graffiti deterrent system manufactured by Q-Star Technology ( www.qstartech.com) and valued at nearly $6,000. The winner in the "paint brush mural" category receives a Graffiti Removal Starter Pack from Urban Restoration Group ( www.graffitiremovers.biz) valued at $400.

    Applicants represented the best of local governments, police departments, schools, nonprofit volunteer organizations, and other groups dedicated to eradicating graffiti vandalism. Award winners were selected by an independent panel of judges, which included Rosemary DeMenno, the National Crime Prevention Council; Faith Wiedler, National Council to Prevent Delinquency; Sgt. Dwight Waldo, San Bernardino Police Department; Nancy Melendez, Keep Riverside Clean and Beautiful; and Michelle Neuhauser, The Sherwin-Williams Company.

    "Sherwin-Williams is committed to supporting innovative approaches to community improvement, including putting a stop to the proliferation of graffiti vandalism," said Christopher M. Connor, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Sherwin-Williams Company. "Graffiti Hurts® is serving as a catalyst in communities seeking new solutions to this national problem. We salute the 2007 National Award winners, and we are proud to recognize their significant achievements."

    About Keep America Beautiful, Inc. and Graffiti Hurts

    Keep America Beautiful, Inc., established in 1953, is the nation's largest volunteer-based community action and education organization. With a network of nearly 1,000 affiliate and participating organizations, Keep America Beautiful forms public-private partnerships and programs that engage individuals to take greater responsibility for improving their community environments. For additional information, visit www.kab.org. For more information about Graffiti Hurts® and its resources to help communities prevent graffiti, visit www.graffitihurts.org or contact graffitihurts@kab.org.

    About the 2006 Graffiti Hurts® Award Winners

    Keep Dallas Beautiful, Dallas, TX

    Contact: Larry Lankford - 972 852-2789 - larry@ecophones.com
    Cecile Carson - 940-230-6035 - cecilecarson@netscape.net

    From 2004 to 2005, Dallas received over 1,700 graffiti complaints and spent more than $220,000 to clean up defaced property. And yet the City had no comprehensive graffiti prevention program in place. A handful of residents, city employees, and an elected official got the ball rolling. From there, a coalition of neighborhood groups, city services, and Keep Dallas Beautiful was organized.

    The coalition set out to achieve three goals: create a new city program targeting graffiti vandalism, seek $250,000 in funding to operate the program, and organize a citywide paint out called Graffiti Wipe Out 2006. They also designated a single contact in the city for graffiti, wrote a new anti-graffiti ordinance, and established a database to track vandalized sites and volunteers. Finally, better coordination between prosecutors, the district attorney's office, and the City of Dallas was established.

    The Graffiti Wipe Outs drew 1,500 volunteers to clean up over 200 graffiti sites and cover over 50,000 square feet of graffiti. These events were featured on the Dallas Morning news, ABC, NBC, Fox, and Telemundo. Graffiti education also made its way into nine schools. And today, the City Council is considering a $175,000 budget to operate the new program, graffiti has been reduced, and volunteers are continuing to wipe out graffiti.

    Together Against Graffiti, El Mirage, AZ

    Contact: Linda Kleiner - 623-933-9391; desert25841@cox.net

    Together Against Graffiti began with one woman's effort to combat graffiti that had overrun her city, and has now grown to include nearly every city in Maricopa County, AZ. In the year since Together Against Graffiti has been in operation there has been a 97% reduction in graffiti and 40 graffiti arrests.

    The first step was organizing a team. Representatives from the police department, code enforcement, city courts, public works, and public officials joined forces with citizens, home owners associations, parents, students, schools, and the media. At the center of it all was Together Against Graffiti.

    The team focused on an eight-step program, which included arrest and prosecution of graffiti vandals, rapid removal, citizen and school graffiti education, involving home owners associations, and organizing volunteers to adopt-a-spot. "We are winning," says Linda Kleiner, founder of Together Against Graffiti. "Fighting graffiti just takes a team effort."

    Celebrate the Arts, Wilmington, NC

    Contact: Julie Cook - 910-262-7216; designjc@ec.rr.com

    A public wary of using parking decks littered with graffiti was the impetus for a mural project spearheaded by the City of Wilmington and Celebrate the Arts. The result is no new graffiti on the mural walls and occupancy of the parking deck has increased by 10% and growing.

    The mural, made from a mixed medium of paint, crushed tile mosaic, and clay tiles, is called "Layers of Wilmington," with each deck representing a different layer of Wilmington and what makes it a special place to live. With a budget of just $1,500, the parking deck mural project has received donations for paint and other supplies from businesses and residents.

    To date, over 2,000 school children have created tiles and received education on graffiti vandalism and community pride. Community members have also gotten involved painting and creating their own tiles.

  • For more information, please contact:

    Rob Wallace Keep America Beautiful
    Phone: 203.323.8987 Ext. 811
    Larry Kaufman Keep America Beautiful
    Phone: 203.323.8987 Ext. 817

    For more from this organization:

    Keep America Beautiful


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