Gangsters — and just about everybody else — are leaving their mark in Old Mill Basin, and residents are worried that if something isn’t done about it quickly, the neighborhood will be drowning in tags.
Gang-related graffiti has turned up on some of the more than 70 storefronts along Avenue M, Avenue N and Flatbush Avenue, and the eyesore tags have some community activists so worried, they immediately painted over a vandalized fence on Flatlands Avenue last week.
“It said, ‘Wipeout Crips,’” said Paul Curiale, president of the Mill Basin Civic Association, who joins a growing chorus of residents who fear that the scrawls represent an unwelcome changing tide for the quiet community of one-family homes and mom-and-pop shops.
“I’d hate for Mill Basin to become another statistic where people say, ‘Wow, that was once a nice neighborhood,’” said John Castorino, who has found graffiti on his car.
But even though gang symbols have been scrawled on local stores, police say but gangs aren’t running amok in Old Mill Basin.
“We don’t find that we have a lot of gang crime against individuals,” said Lt. Robert Haley of the 63rd Precinct. “They mostly prey on each other.”
Gangs are still defacing private property, though. Tags referencing the Chicago-based Gangster Disciples have been found on “five or six locations” in the neighborhood, Haley said. He won’t reveal the locations because he doesn’t want to give the vandals the “fame” they seek, but said that the graffiti would be removed.
“I want them cleaned quickly,” said Haley, who noted that graffiti is an ongoing problem in the area.
Haley downplayed the presence of the gang-related graffiti, saying that it represents a small portion of the dozens of spots in Old Mill Basin that are now covered with tags.
©2010 Community News Group
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