By David Shivers
Don’t be fooled, violators. Behind Judy Bowles’ quiet, soft-spoken manner is a fierce determination to carry out the mission of the organization she heads, Keep Albany-Dougherty Beautiful.
One such effort is related to a topic much in the local news lately: “My organization was recently given the responsibility to remove graffiti,” she reported to the Kiwanis Club of Dougherty County on August 22. While there may be some who view graffiti as a form of urban art, it is often used to mark territory, or turf, claimed by street gangs.
Some 23 active gangs have been identified in Albany, Bowles said, but at the time of her remarks there were only four graffiti sites to be cleaned. According to information published by KADB, “Graffiti is not a victimless crime, nor is it a form of art. Graffiti is the deliberate defacing of public and private property without the owner’s permission.” It sends a negative signal in terms of public safety perceptions and a sense of order in a community.
Bowles encouraged anyone who spots graffiti to call the city’s non-emergency 311 citizen-services number. It can also be reported to the Albany Police Department (431-3288) or KADB (430-5257).
The same goes for illegal dump sites. Bowles recalled an occasion where she had a grandchild with her when she received a call concerning someone spotted dumping limbs and yard debris illegally. Grandchild in tow, she went immediately to the site where she and a law enforcement officer detained the violator until a code enforcement officer arrived and issued him a citation.
KADB also sponsors litter-reduction efforts, encourages recycling through the use of drop-off sites, and promotes education on environmental conservation efforts. Upcoming promotions include an electronics recycling drive to be held Sept. 17 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. behind the Albany Civic Center and the seventh-annual “Rivers Alive” cleanup on the Flint River set for Oct. 22.
Keep Albany-Dougherty Beautiful executive director Judy Bowles displays a handout listing the locations of Albany’s three recycling drop-off sites. SPECIAL PHOTO