Two weeks ago, two men with CTA uniforms and keys were charged with spraying graffiti on trains in a Wilmette rail yard by the Linden Purple Line stop. However, despite new tactics launched this year like lawsuits against the parents of vandals, doubling fines, and adding security cameras, neighborhoods along the Blue, Pink and Orange L lines are still making the most requests for graffiti removal.
According to city data, the most 311 calls to the Department of Streets & Sanitation's Graffiti Blasters since the start of 2011 have occurred along the Blue Line between West Town and Avondale, the Orange Line between Bridgeport and Midway Airport, and the Pink Line between Pilsen and Lawndale.
The tagging hotspots along these L lines also correspond to Milwaukee, Archer, and Cermak Avenues, respectively, and the latter is also flanked by several stops on the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Metra route.
And which stops have the most graffiti removal requests directly surrounding them? The Damen Blue Line and California Pink Line.
So, in other words, Chicago graffiti pops up in some easy to get to places. However, in the case of the Orange Line/Archer Ave, it may also have to do with gang activity.
In related news, Mayor Rahm Emanuel's proposed 2015 city budget includes funds for four additional graffiti removal crews, to "remove 100 more graffiti tags per day," according to DNAInfo. Though Special Service Areas in places like West Town and Wicker Park/Bucktown levy taxes that fund Graffiti Abatement Programs, graffiti removal is estimated to cost the city nearly $5 million this year, $1 million more than 2013.
Currently, reported graffiti requests this month are below the historical average at just above 10,300.