Artwork or nuisance? Graffiti on the rise again - KMOV.com

Artwork or nuisance? Graffiti on the rise again

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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) -

You see graffiti nearly everywhere you go in St. Louis, and if you think it's getting worse, you're right. Complaints are pouring in about the street art popping up on buildings, bridges and in public spaces.

"It doesn't make you feel good when you pull up in the morning and you see that someone has sprayed the building but you can't be here 24 hours a day," said local business owner Al Dressing.

Dressing is no stranger to graffiti, saying he encounters tagging regularly

"About every couple of months you'll see in the alley, they'll spray it real good," he says.

As soon as it gets cleaned up, he says the cycle starts over.

"It will go a week, two weeks seems like they come by and see a building really nice and clean and they will do it," he says.

That's something News 4 saw too. Taggers got a business on North 9th street. It was cleaned up and then just days later, hit again. Interstates and bridges have also been targeted.

The city says so far this year there are 218 graffiti complaints. That's about double from the same time last year.

So News 4 asked Police Chief Sam Dotson how they're handling the problem.

"We are looking for those individuals. We have made some arrests of those graffiti artists, but realistically in a city that is challenged by crime, it is a low priority or a lower priority," said Dotson.

While graffiti might be a lower priority, the chief says his officers will not back down if they see someone in the act.

"While some people might find enjoyment in it, they are really hurting their city and hurting some of the neighborhoods that are challenged. I ask them to stop it. If we catch you we will arrest you," he said.

If you're wondering how much it costs to clean up graffiti, it's all funded through what's called a community development block grant. The city manages it and that's where people have to go if they want to apply for it.

If you have a complaint about graffiti and live in the city of St. Louis, click here: https://www.stlouis-mo.gov/government/departments/public-safety/neighborhood-stabilization-office/citizens-service-bureau/

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