Pittsburgh is bringing back the graffiti task force, a team of police officers dedicated to investigating graffiti vandalism that was disbanded about a year ago.
Mayor Bill Peduto said today in a news release that two officers would start on the task force in the coming week. They will work under Commander Linda Rosato-Barone of the Narcotics and Vice unit.
“Graffiti task force is a critical component. It’s part of a broken window theory that I adhere to that if you let the graffiti stand, then eventually you’re going to find more litter. Once the litter and the graffiti is there, you’re going to see more crime,” Mr. Peduto said. “We want to start at the beginning.”
The bureau’s anti-graffiti squad began its work under former police Chief Nate Harper. It received 213 reports and made eight arrests in 2012, the latest year for which statistics are available.
Acting police Chief Regina McDonald announced in April 2013 that she was temporarily disbanding the unit and assigning its three detectives to police stations in the Hill District and Highland Park, in part to help address a manpower shortage.
In a news release, the mayor’s office said the graffiti task force will work with the Graffiti Busters crews from the public works department, who will focus on cleaning up graffiti.
Moriah Balingit: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-2533 or on Twitter @MoriahBee. Liz Navratil: email@example.com, 412-263-1438 or on Twitter @LizNavratil.