Cops, community tackle graffiti tags

Dayton police and the graffiti task force are taking on the rampant graffiti problem on East Third Street one tag at a time.

Officers along with volunteers from the East End Community Center spent Friday morning cleaning off graffiti painted on vacant buildings near Harbine Avenue and East Third Street. Officer Zachary Williams said taggers “almost have to be caught in the act,” to face charges for the vandalism, which is getting worse.

“Every block you’ll see a piece of graffiti, if not every other building, especially on the east end when you’re coming down the East Third Street Corridor,” he said. “When people see graffiti, they automatically think that the neighborhood isn’t taken care of. Crime goes up.”

Neighbor Chuck Crawford said the graffiti leaves a negative impression.

“No kid should have to walk through neighborhoods that have the ‘F’ word and the ‘N’ word plastered up all over garages,” Crawford said.

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Work was completed using supplies from the Dayton Graffiti Task Force. Volunteers seal-coated a mural on Harbine Avenue, which will make graffiti easy to remove should someone try to tag it. Artwork is an effective way to combat graffiti as few taggers will paint over existing art, Williams said.

The workers also used “elephant snot” to remove tags from other buildings. The thick chemical absorbs the paint, allowing it to be removed with a pressure-washer.

Seeing officers cleaning up the community is inspiring, Crawford said, and helps reduce crime.

“I love seeing the police out here with their citizens,” he said. “It gives people the idea that cops aren’t just guys with badges and guns. They’re out here volunteering and giving their own time to make the community a better place.”

The Dayton Graffiti Task Force will place five more murals in Dayton this summer. One will be placed along Hamilton Avenue next Saturday. Those interested in volunteering with the group can visit daytongraffititaskforce.com for more information.

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