Hartford battling increase in graffiti


HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Hartford wages a constant battle against keeping graffiti off signs, highway and bridges.

According to officials, it’s getting worse.

“We got out there, we clean it, we cover it up with a thin layer of cement that’s on some of the concrete barriers,” said Josh Morgan, a spokesperson for the Connecticut Department of Transportation. “We have matching paint for our sound walls, we have paint that will cover up our signs. In some cases, we have to replace the signs.”

But once it’s covered up, more usually immediately replaces it.

Empty spray paint cans litter the side of the highway. And every hour that crews spend removing the graffiti costs taxpayers and takes time away from what the department of transportation could be doing to improve safety and traffic conditions.

“When we go out there to clean up, we have to close lanes down, we have to jam up traffic with our equipment out there, and we have to put our staff out on the highway, which is an incredibly dangerous place to be,” Morgan said.

Hartford has allowed spray paint artists to legally tag a skate park downtown as part of an effort to limit how much graffiti is done elsewhere in the city.

Hartford residents said that it’s working, and want to see more.

“And instead of just a skate park being the only location, make other installations where those artists can express themselves,” Jonathan Mumby said. “As I drive around the downtown area and other areas of the community on the inner side, I realize there’s not as much graffiti as I would see years ago.”

Connecticut State Police is always on the lookout for taggers spray painting overpasses or highway signs, but said it’s difficult to catch them. By the time troopers circle back to the side streets, the taggers are usually gone.

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