Downtown Anchorage sees spike in graffiti vandalism


ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) – Downtown Anchorage is seeing a spike in graffiti vandalism.

“A little piece of me gets hurts,” said Marc Murray, a maintenance ambassador for the Anchorage Downtown Partnership. ”You know, it’s a little piece of our city crumbling.”

Within the past few months, the partnership said, graffiti has become more of a problem.

“The Whaling Wall was tagged last week. Balto was tagged yesterday,” Murray said. “The parks have been hit almost daily.”

Before this summer, the partnership would receive a call once a week regarding graffiti, but now it gets around two calls a day.

“Seems to be a lot of the same people doing it, same general look,” Murray said.

From spray paint to permanent market to latex paint, the partnership has seen it all when responding to calls. Each graffiti piece can take them about a day or two to respond to. The clean-up process time depends, Murray said, on the surface the graffiti was found on and the necessary clean-up process. The clean-up process might include re-painting, pressure washing, sandblasting and following up with a wire brush.

Murray said he believes the spike in graffiti is linked to the increase in homelessness.

“Probably the homeless camp at Third and Ingra would be a big one,” Murray said.

Murray likened the rise in graffiti to the “broken window effect.”

“One broken window will lead to another broken window, to another. And once they see a pattern of it, it just explodes. So, if we get it covered up quickly it tends to nip it in the bud and gets taken care of and cleaned up the way we like it downtown,” Murray said.

Anyone caught doing graffiti will need to remove it and pay damages. They could also face fines of up to $100.

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