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Graffiti Complaints Soar 120 Percent in Woodside

 There were 211 calls to 311 about graffiti so far this year in zip code 11377, compared to 96 in 2013.
Graffiti in Woodside
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WOODSIDE — Graffiti complaints in the neighborhood have more than doubled so far this year compared to the year before, according to data, an uptick that some advocates attribute to aggressive reporting.

Since Jan. 1, there were 211 complaints made to the city's 311 system about graffiti in the 11377 ZIP code, which covers Woodside and includes small parts of Maspeth, Sunnyside and Elmhurst, according to stats found on NYC Open Data.

That's up from the 96 graffiti complaints the city received in the ZIP code through Oct. 13, 2013, an increase of nearly 120 percent.

This year's numbers are also 9 percent higher than the same period in 2012 when there were 193 calls about graffiti, city data shows.

Woodside still has fewer complaints than a number of other neighborhoods. For instance, there have been more than 450 calls so far this year about graffiti in the ZIP code for Sunset Park, as DNAinfo New York reported last month.

Joe Conley, chairman of Community Board 2, said he's noticed an "uptick" in graffiti in recent years not only in Woodside but throughout the district, especially in portions of the buildings that are high off the ground.

"Some of these graffiti artists should be in high-wire acts," he said.

In particular, buildings along the 7 train line are often targeted for their visibility.

"If you get on at 61st [Street station], ride the subway, and you go to 40th Street, you'll see a lot of graffiti on the buildings," he said.

CB2 encourages residents who see graffiti to call 311.

Some Woodside residents say they believe the recent jump is not necessarily due to an uptick in vandalism, but an increase in the number of locals who are now reporting the tags.

"People are much more aware and very aggressive about it," said David Rosasco of the Woodside Neighborhood Association, a volunteer group that does beautification projects in the area, including graffiti clean-ups.

The group uses donated supplies to paint over graffiti on the walls of buildings and other spots, getting requests every week from local residents.

"They can have the trust that people like myself — and there are many others — are immediately reacting to it, and we don’t keep our hands idle," he said.

"I do think as you walk through Woodside, you’ll see that the graffiti situation is fairly under control."

City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer's office also runs a graffiti remediation program, offering the clean-up service for free throughout his district. His staffers have said they have not seen an increase in calls this year.