Graffiti vandals target 20 locations in Richmond’s West End


RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) -The signs are everywhere around this Richmond West End neighborhood. Several homes near North Arthur Ashe Boulevard and Floyd Avenue are covered in graffiti.

“This whole fence was covered pretty completely with white spray paint and tags and stuff like that, and then from there, I saw it across the street, and it was sort of like a trail of breadcrumbs,” said David Morrison, an West End resident affected by graffiti blitz.

In the early morning hours of May 5, David Morrison says the suspects didn’t stop with just his fence.

In total, those crooks caught on camera struck 20 locations, mainly on the sides of brick homes in the area. The damage was done in about an hour.

“The sheer productivity of this particular instance was impressive in not a good way, and it just makes the neighborhood a little less desirable,” said Morrison.

The city says the number of graffiti reports is increasing.

“On our way out, it’s dusk and leaving the alley, we see a whole bunch of graffiti. It’s all on the back of our rental property. It’s all on the back of another rental property owned by somebody else,” said Adam Zelinsky, an West End resident also affected by the graffiti blitz.

Last year city cleaning crews removed tags at 1,300 locations. This year that number is expected to top 2,000.

“We take pride in our neighborhood. We just want everybody to live comfortably and not have to worry about the nuisance of graffiti,” said Zelinsky.

Some neighbors are out as much as $500 for cleanup costs. The neighborhood has come together to help each other remove some of the graffiti.

City Hall also has a graffiti removal program, which is free. You can read more about that here.

Richmond Police are investigating. Meanwhile, the city could create a permanent place for those wanting to tag, called sanction walls.

“Those would be walls, dedicated areas for people who want to spray paint or do public art can go without being policed,” said Katherine Jordan, Richmond City Councilor.

The sanction wall idea is still a little ways off. The city’s public art commission is just looking at the issue.

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