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Chicago more productive in graffiti removal

  • A Chicago Streets and Sanitation worker removes graffiti with a mixture of water and baking soda.
A Chicago Streets and Sanitation worker removes graffiti with a mixture… (Chicago Tribune file photo )
June 18, 2013|By Riley Blevins @Riley_Blevins | RedEye

The Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation has improved the city’s response to graffiti vandalism, reporting a 24 percent increase in productivity over the last year.

As a result of graffiti removal program reforms, graffiti crews have completed nearly 64,000 removals jobs as of June 14.

“I am committed to protecting taxpayer resources and providing the highest quality and most efficient services possible,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a release. “By taking a more strategic approach to removing graffiti, we have improved our response and are working to provide residents the results they deserve.”

The Department of Streets and Sanitation implemented grid-based reforms within its graffiti program in February of 2012, which has allowed the graffiti removal crews to operate more efficiently. Under the grid system, graffiti crews “blitz” four wards per day.

The Department of Streets and Sanitation also added five painters to its graffiti removal program for a total of 12 blaster crews--trucks that use baking soda under high water pressure to remove painted graffiti from brick, stone and other mineral surfaces--and 11 paint crews.

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