I am glad to see the Brookline Tab covering the graffiti story so well. Today, they did a front-page story on me! (Link here.) Yes, it is all true. But after a year of me sneaking all over the place, it was very strange to see my picture all over town!
First, I want to thank the writer, Teddy Applebaum and the paper for doing the story, and for protecting my anonymity. (The “Russ Oleum” pseudonym was funny.) I promise that I am just a nobody. I have no position of importance in Brookline whatsoever. I am just a guy who wanted to get rid of the graffiti in my own neighborhood. That’s all.
Second, I am grateful to get support from famous Brookline resident and former Governor Michael Dukakis, who was quoted in the story. As the article showed, his ongoing effort to eliminate graffiti was inspiring to me.
Third, I want to emphasize, as the story did, how much effort the Brookline Police put into this. The “Walk and Talk” department might not have been seen as the sexiest police work in town, but I can tell you, these officers use the same techniques and have the same dedication as those who do the big crimes. And, as my maps show, catching the big taggers affects most of the people in Brookline. I have spoken to many people since the arrests, and they are pleasantly surprised* and grateful for them. (* One woman told me, ‘Wow. I didn’t think they ever got caught!’ I smiled broadly and said, ‘They do here!’)
Lastly, in case anyone doesn’t actually believe that Brookline really had more than 2,500 publicly-visible tags here is a link to the photo database, which has been public - but not advertised - for almost a year. You will see a set of all graffiti, then a series of other sets for individual tags. Many pictures have more than one tag on them, which is how 2,231 photos can show well over 2,500 tags. There are a few specialized subsets, such as for Phop stickers, and the Nugs Bunnies. (You can see all the tributes to Mr. Nugs’ deceased rabbit, Bhudda. I’m not promoting them. They are large tags and because of that, each tribute is a separate felony count.)
p.s. For all the wonderful people with whom I have spoken while cleaning the streets of Brookline for a year, you can read the paper today and tell your friends, “I met that guy!”