To the Editor:
I just returned from a wonderful trip to Athens to reconnect with my Greek relatives after 40 years. I last visited in 1968-1969.
Things have really been developed in the Athens area,but the one main negative that struck me was the prevalence of graffiti defacing everywhere (e.g., spraypainted on buildings).
It doesn’t look like anything is being done about it. Since tourism is, I believe, Greece’s number one industry, the graffiti problem isn’t welcoming to tourists as it is usually done by criminal gangs, so when people see it they don’t feel safe. And it is bad for property values as well.
In my city of Riverside, CA, they have tackled this problem with vigor. They have a 311 telephone hotline to report it and within a day or two the city sends out a crew to paint over it. In addition to the 311 call line to city hall, they also have a smartphone application, iPhone and Android, called 311 and you can take a picture with your phone and report all kinds of problems to city hall for them to address such as dumping, homeless problems, graffiti etc. Through the application, you get a faster response most time rather than calling where they can forward it immediately to the proper department to handle the problem.
Also, in most of the United States, spraypaint can only be sold to someone over 18 years of age. In some cities when they catch a graffiti tagger,in addition to jail, they make the offender’s parents or guardian pay for the cleanup.
Businesses with graffiti on their buildings will be compelled to clean it up, etc.
And if Athens is low on funds, then let it get volunteers to clean up street by street. Often times, the paint companies will supply the paint for free.