Graffiti census volunteers sought to help curb growing problem

Graffiti census volunteers sought to help curb growing problem
(Source: Steven Richard/ WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) -  Graffiti is an eyesore everywhere you look, and one Louisville group doesn't want that eyesore around when millions flock to town for Derby.

On the same weekend when volunteers will be picking up trash for a Brightside Cleanup for the city this Saturday April 14, a non-profit group is asking for about 500 volunteers to be part of a Graffiti census.

"It's definitely a problem," said Metro Councilwoman and Mayoral Candidate Angela Leet.

Check into some downtown hotels and you might get a room with a view of a building covered in graffiti, not exactly ideal for Derby guests.

"It's like a weed in your yard or in your lawn," Leet said. "If you let it go on for too long, it takes over your entire lawn."

It's nearly impossible to go a city block without seeing a sign, fence or dumpster hit with graffiti. While the vandalism isn't just inside the urban areas, the city's graffiti team has been at work downtown to clean it up and people are noticing.

"There does seem to be a great deal of activity the past two weeks in comparison to the past year." Joshua White, Executive Director for the non-profit Graffiti Abatement Coalition said.

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While White admits some progress has been made, he says the issue is serious. And a graffiti census can document the spray paint and help spend taxpayer dollars the right way.

"How many graffiti vandals there are, how widespread it is and where to concentrate your efforts," White said.

Leet agrees, saying she's actually caught vandals in the act and nothing happens.

"There's no intimidation, they don't take off and run when you stop and ask them, what are you doing?" Leet said.

Other city leaders like Metro Council President David James tell us they are also on board for a better-coordinated approach to clean up the city, with graffiti and the litter problem. White maintains the scientific study that has helped other cities is needed here. The coalition is putting out a call for volunteers on its Graffiti Abatement Coalition Facebook page, and it's website to help with the census this weekend to count every spot of graffiti possible.

"We definitely need a different approach, because what we're doing clearly isn't working," Leet said.

White plans to send the census results to the Metro Council, Mayor Greg Fischer's office and to state lawmakers.

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