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Demanding Answers: Graffiti Of Entire Subway Train Raises Questions About Security

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - It's a cool sight to some, but a security concern for many: A subway car covered from end to end in graffiti.

Is graffiti on the express train back into New York City, or is it a lapse in security?

CBS2's Marcia Kramer is demanding answers from the MTA.

Paint transit officials faces red - also orange, turquoise, green and blue - all the colors in the spray paint palette.

Transit officials are at a loss to explain away a devastating video of an F train defaced from one end to the other - top to bottom, doors, windows, everything - covered in graffiti.

"How is it possible that somebody was able to to the racks and spend hours and hours painting a train from one end to the other and nobody noticed, no conductor notices as it went by, no security person notices?" Kramer asked New York City Transit Authority President Andy Byford.

"We're looking into this. That layup section is protected so there's a few questions to be answered. It is subject to security," Byford said.

The video was tweeted by the Police Benevolent Association, comparing it to the bad old days of the '70s and '80s, when graffiti vandals covered the trains with their tags.

The union called it "a true sign of decay, one that we worked so hard to eradicate decades ago. The taggers had plenty of time to cover this entire train, because they know there are no more consequences. #BackToTheFuture."

The F train was found over the weekend while out of service on a sihahade track at the Church Avenue station in Brooklyn, even though a sign warns "do not enter or cross tracks."

Officials say that in order to reach the parked train, the graffiti artist had to walk down the tracks and avoid the live third rail.

John Jay College professor Robert McCrie raises security issues, saying it's important to protect trains from the bad guys.

"Perhaps they could have planted a bomb, or they could injure the mechanical facility in some way. The public shouldn't be there," McCrie said.

While the MTA says so-called major grafitti hits are down from 443 incidents in 2018 to 298 last year, the total number of markings has surged from about 200 each year in the first half of the decade to 619 in 2018. There were 537 incidents through mid-December 2019.

"One hit is one hit too many. It's selfish. It's vandalism," Byford said.

And it's also expensive. It costs thousands of dollars to clean the train.

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