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Residents Complain Of Resurgence Of Graffiti In Several NYC Communities

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Graffiti was an infamous symbol of the decline and decay of New York City in the 1970s and '80s, and some now say it appears to be making a comeback.

As CBS2's Scott Rapoport reported Monday, residents have noticed and they want it gone.

Bold graffiti lines parts of walls, ramps and pavement at the Forest Hills Long Island Rail Road station in Queens.

"It's awful," one man said.

"Most of the time it's ignored," said City Councilmember Karen Koslowitz (D-29th).

Koslowitz said the graffiti has been there since the summer, and she said she has been in touch repeatedly with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to get rid of it. But she said in the ensuing months, things got worse.

"I've seen a lot more graffiti then I've seen in a long time," she said.

And it is not an isolated occurrence. Citywide, some say graffiti appears to be more and more prevalent.

According to the NYPD, the number of graffiti complaints citywide in 2015 is up 15 percent from last year. Meanwhile, arrests for graffiti are down 10 percent compared with last year.

And while a far cry from the out-of-control graffiti craze some 40 years ago, the current graffiti is getting noticed.

"This is just scribble and nonsense," said David Clanton of the West Village. "And it's ugly."

CBS2 asked Mayor Bill de Blasio about the graffiti situation.

"We take graffiti very, very seriously. Some of those statistics are very much of the moment and shouldn't be overweighted," the mayor said. "NYPD has some very sophisticated tools for going at it, so I expect you will see continued enforcement efforts in that area."

Meanwhile, back at the Forest Hills train station, the MTA is now promising to remove all graffiti by Christmas, and a representative told CBS2's Rapoprt the agency has already moved a lot of it. The MTA pointed out that some walls have been painted over in gray.

But Koslowitz emphasized, "A lot more has to be done."

The NYPD said making graffiti or possession of a graffiti instrument are both misdemeanor crimes punishable with a fine or up to a year in prison.

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