Armed with paint cans, volunteers fight back
Reporter: Jessica Chapin
TUCSON (KGUN9- TV) - It's ugly, it's illegal, and it's everywhere. Graffiti is a major problem across Tucson, costing the city millions in clean-up and sparking a recent crack-down on offenders. Saturday, more than a hundred people hit the streets with paint cans, to combat the crime.
With buckets and brushes, five neighborhood associations, several volunteer groups and Graffiti Protective Coating spent Saturday morning doing their part free of charge to keep one mid-town neighborhood beautiful.
"It's a big problem and everything we do to fight it, I don't know why it doesn't go away," said Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, "I drive new businesses by all the time looking, telling them what a great town it is, it is a great town but when they see that graffiti, they ask."
Rothschild says the city dedicated $1.2 million on graffiti clean-up, but they still need help from volunteers.
"Everybody hates graffiti and I feel like after potholes and medians and graffiti, if I can get those things cleaned up I feel like I'm doing my job," said Rothschild.
People like Don and Phyllis Weaver gladly lent a helping hand for their own neighborhood, after their property fell victim to vandals recently.
"You feel violated and it's just it's very upsetting," said Phyllis. Looking around at all the volunteers who don't even live there, she was thrilled.
"It feels wonderful," she said, "So uplifting to know that other people are as concerned about it as we are."
In addition to volunteer efforts and more funding toward graffiti clean-up, Tucson Police are also cracking down on taggers. Many of them are facing more than misdemeanor charges. This year so far, 17 of the 44 taggers taken in are facing felonies.