“It makes our neighborhood look shabby”: Volunteers paint over graffiti tags along Federal Boulevard for Brush Off Day

A smell of chili with a tinge of spray paint wafted down Federal Boulevard Saturday morning.

Groups of people in safety vests slowly progressed between West Sixth and Evans avenues and parts of West Alameda Avenue, covering up graffiti tags and picking up trash that lined the street as part of the eighth Brush Off Day hosted by the city of Denver.

Ginger Scholte, who lives in the Mar Lee neighborhood, was among the 165 volunteers along the street. Since 2008, she has been walking up and down Federal Boulevard, reporting tags to the city and cleaning them up herself.

“It makes our neighborhood look shabby,” she said. “It says a small, small community controls our neighborhood.”

Det. George Gray with the Denver Graffiti Unit said the city removed 5.6 million square feet of graffiti in 2007, but it has fallen to closer to 1.6 million annually. Still, it costs $145 to remove a typical tag and the city said it spends $1.4 million annually to clean up graffiti. About 10,100 incidences of graffiti have been reported this year.

Gray described two types of taggers. There are those who do it alone or with crews but for themselves. Then there are crews that can become involved with or morph into gangs, turning to more aggressive crimes like burglary or car theft.

About 65 percent of taggers are 25-35 years old, he said. The unit focuses its efforts on prolific taggers instead of the people who spend two or three hours creating a project on one wall, he said.

“The guys that do 50 places a night, they’re the ones I target because they’re crushing us and they’re causing a lot more damage to our city,” he said.

Police District Four, which includes Federal Boulevard from 6th Avenue to just north of US Highway 285, has more graffiti than …read more

Source:: The Denver Post

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