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International travelers are fueling graffiti spike in NYC, says NYPD

Graffiti vandals from around the world are using the lifted COVID-19 travel restrictions to venture into NYC to vandalize MTA trains – leading to a dramatic rise in subway graffiti, according to a report.

Traffic officials reported 209 incidents of vandalism this year through the end of April, according to MTA statistics — a more than 200 percent increase since 2021 and the highest number since at least 2018.

“As restrictions on international travel have been lifted, we have seen an increase in incidents of graffiti involving layup,” said NYPD spokeswoman Lt. Jessica McRorie, to nonprofit news site The City, which first reported the increase.

President Biden in August lifted COVID-19 travel restrictions that had prevented many vandalism-loving tourists from venturing into the United States, McCrorie said.

Foreign visitors make up a large proportion of the graffitists who leave their “works” on New York City subways, experts at the Post have previously told.

    Dekalb and Wyckoff Avenues L train platform in Bushwick, Brooklyn.
A subway rider takes a photo of graffiti at the DeKalb and Wyckoff Avenues L station in Brooklyn.
Paul Martinka
Dekalb and Wyckoff Avenues L train platform in Bushwick, Brooklyn.
Traffic officials reported 209 cases of vandalism by the end of April this year.
Paul Martinka
Dekalb and Wyckoff Avenues L train platform in Bushwick, Brooklyn.
Foreign visitors make up a large proportion of the graffitists, an expert told The Post.
Paul Martinka

A relic of New York’s “bad old days,” subway graffiti enjoyed a dramatic resurgence in the 2010s, thanks in part to the reach of social media. International artists come to New York to “get that feather in their cap that they put on a train in the birthplace of subway graffiti,” according to an expert interviewed by The City.

Her absence was felt in the darkest days of COVID-19, when incidents of vandalism fell from a peak of 443 “hits” in 2018 to a total of just 208 for all of 2020 and 91 in the first four months of 2021, according to official figures .

MTA CEO Janno Lieber created a ‘track trespassing’ task force late last year to tackle illegal trespassing by graffitist and others, but the problem persists – including last month when cops maimed two Bodies found on the train tracks in Brooklyn, news outlets reported, were later identified as well-known French artists.

Graffiti on the inside of a subway train in New York City, USA, around 1980.
Graffiti on the inside of a 2 train circa 1980.
Getty Images
An African American woman sits in a subway car marked with extensive graffiti, New York City, New York, 1973.
A woman sits in a graffiti-covered subway car in 1973.
Getty Images

Gothamist reported that the two “taggers” – Pierre Audebert and Julien Blanc – were in town to film a documentary about 1980s graffiti culture.

Cases of spray paint on train exteriors rose from 25 to 84 between 2014 and 2018, according to MTA figures previously verified by The Post.

“The MTA considers acts of vandalism to be unacceptable. These actions are costly and often extremely dangerous for the MTA and taxpayers,” MTA spokesman Sean Butler said in a statement. “The MTA works closely with the NYPD to investigate all cases of vandalism.”

https://nypost.com/2022/05/06/international-travelers-fuel-nyc-graffiti-spike-nypd-says/ International travelers are fueling graffiti spike in NYC, says NYPD

JACLYN DIAZ

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