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Albany App Targets Graffiti

A decades-old problem that plagues large cities is about to meet a new, digital foe.

The city of Albany is turning to smartphone technology in the fight against urban blight: Mayor Jerry Jennings announced the activation of The Graffiti Buster.   The free app was about a year in the making, the brainchild of Tim Varney, a partner at Troy Web Consulting. Albany's Department of General Services cleans up hundreds of incidents of graffiti every year.
Mayor Jennings explains the new app allows the city to locate nuisance graffiti more easily and take remedial steps to have it cleaned very quickly. The process entails dispatching an "inspection" letter which gives the property owner 20 days to remove the graffiti, otherwise the city will do so, at the property owner's request.

The Graffiti App is available from both iTunes and the Android Store. It can be accessed via Facebook - vandalism can be reported to the city anonymously (if you have your GPS or other locating software turned 'off') by either photographing it or entering a description with the address. City officials say you can also enter the coordinates via your phone's GPS function.

Boston Citizens Connect is an app that's been around for a couple of years in Beantown: the city recently added an option where smartphone users can report incidents of graffiti - Tim Varney says he may roll out versions of his Graffiti Buster for other Capital Region cities.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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