By Andrea Grymes

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The NYPD is rolling out a new campaign to combat a big rise in graffiti across the city.

But since there’s no budget for it, the department is asking New Yorkers for help, CBS2’s Andrea Grymes reported Wednesday.

The NYPD said it received more than 6,000 complaints last year about properties damaged by graffiti. While police deal with a spike in shootings, they say dealing with graffiti is also important.

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Drive around the five boroughs and you’ll easily spot it — graffiti everywhere, from Manhattan to Long Island City, Queens to near Yankee Stadium in the Bronx.

Ryan Chadwick, owner of The Grey Lady on the Lower East Side, said it’s the last thing struggling business owners like him need.

“How do we open when our view is some guy’s name spray painted on my wall?” Chadwick said.

A staffer was cleaning up tags all over the establishment’s windows. Surveillance video caught at least one of the vandals last month.

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Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said he has noticed the spike in graffiti during the coronavirus pandemic, and it needs to change.

“New York City needs a little sprucing up here today, so that’s exactly what we aim to do,” Shea said.

The NYPD has announced a new graffiti cleanup campaign. It will kick off on Saturday, April 10 with a citywide cleanup day. The department is seeking volunteers and donated supplies.

“We’re asking for help from community business leaders, just anyone that here in New York City. Whether you live here or do business here, come out and help us April 10,” Chief of Patrol Juanita Holmes said.

READ MOREGraffiti Is Making A Big Comeback In NYC, But There’s No Money In The Budget To Fight It

Last summer, CBS2 reported that there was no money in the city’s budget for graffiti cleanup, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo warned the tags need to go if the city expects to recover.

Commissioner Shea said the NYPD has been planning this campaign for months, and with the worst of COVID-19 hopefully behind us, spring is the best time to start.

“We didn’t want to roll it out in the winter. We were kind of just getting our ducks in a row here,” Shea said.

While many are happy to hear about the program, others believe the graffiti should stay put.

“I love it. It brings back the early ’80s and ’90s of New York,” Lower East Side resident Lee Felix said.

“I hope it’s not like too late, right? Why has it taken this long?” Chadwick added.

The NYPD said it is also trying to prevent graffiti from happening to begin with, specifically with its Vandals Task Force team. As for the cleanup campaign, the department is asking New Yorkers to email graffiti@nypd.org to let it know specific locations, or to get more information on how they can help.

Andrea Grymes