The Bixby Knolls Business Improvement Association (BKBIA) recently partnered with the Department of Public Works to eliminate graffiti in the Bixby area as soon as it occurs. The BKBIA is encouraging all business owners and residents to call the city’s graffiti hotline to report any “tags” as soon as possible, but the organization is also taking steps to address the issue directly.
“We started to notice that the smaller graffiti tags grew in numbers, as the taggers would write on traffic signs, windows, and light poles. These are harder to see when you are driving down the corridors but are more noticeable on foot,” said Blair Cohn, executive director of the BKBIA. “The idea was to help speed up the process [of graffiti removal] by asking Public Works for the materials that could remove the paint, chalk, or ink ourselves. One day a week we spend walking the district, picking up trash, pulling weeds, reporting code-enforcement issues, watering trees, and making notes for new projects. We figure since we are out there already, why not be able to remove the graffiti immediately instead of having to put the entire burden on the city to do it.”
Cohn says getting out and pitching in to remove graffiti can be a nice way to take a break from the office. “It is actually more enjoyable on some days to get out from behind the desk and be outside getting our hands dirty to make the district look good,” he said.
He said the BKBIA submitted a formal request to Mike Conway, director of Public Works, who was in favor of the graffiti-abatement program, which also received the support of the 7th and 8th District council offices.
Cohn equates the hands-on approach with the “broken window” theory– that if the graffiti goes unaddressed, it will only encourage more graffiti. “It’s not necessarily the magic wand to eliminate the graffiti problem altogether, but we feel good about making the district look better and being a partner with the city to do so.”