Local News

Graffiti Wuz Here: Raleigh To Scrub Tags Off Private Property

Posted August 17, 2006 5:45 a.m. EDT

— City crews have launched an effort to clear graffiti off private property around Raleigh.

After months spent scrubbing tags off public property, crews now are looking for graffiti on private buildings and are asking owners for permission to erase it free of charge. Graffiti triggers fear, officials said, which is why they want to get rid of it.

"When you see it, you think you are unsafe, and we just don't want people thinking that," said Elwood Davis, the city street superintendent.

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    The city uses a system called Taganator, which uses a chemical applied with a pressure washer to dissolve the spray-painted tags. Each time a crew removes graffiti from a site, it costs about $150.

    If the graffiti comes back, the city will come back, Davis said, noting officials are prepared to spend up to $1,000 on graffiti removal at a single address.

    Durham has been clearing graffiti off private property for several years, and other area cities are looking to follow suit.

    Removing the graffiti takes away the reward members get from putting it up, gang experts said.

    "The graffiti acts like a newspaper for gangs, so they are constantly communicating among themselves as well as other gangs," says Kristen Rosselli, of the Raleigh Police Department.

    Rich Sathoff, who owns Electric Scooter City, said he's glad a city crew removed the graffiti outside his business.

    "The appearance reflects on the quality of the store inside. If the building is rundown, you are going to think there's not much going on inside the store," Sathoff said.