Now that itís warm outside, the city is ramping up its graffiti clean up efforts now that it's warm outside. From scraping to painting four men are on the move ridding Rochester of graffiti. They're called the Defacer Erasers. Tony Diaz says it's impossible because the problem never goes away. ďThe problem is big. It's getting bigger. I mean I'm out here doing this stuff every day. It seems the more I do the more the kids do," said Diaz.
The city saw a 75% increase in graffiti last year alone. That's why this spring there are two two-man crews on the streets removing graffiti - instead of just one. Between paint, sandblasting costs and labor the city budgets $100,000 a year for the clean up. Tony says that's taxpayer money that could be spent on something better. "I mean walking by a person's house and writing on it there's no respect in that. Keep it on paper. Get a pen and pad do your tag on that," said Diaz.
The Defacer Erasers take before and after pictures of the graffiti to keep on record. City Council is expected to vote on stricter graffiti laws next week. One of the proposed changes is forming a graffiti registry to track incidents for clean up and enforcement. "As the law sits now it's a slap on the wrist to deface a property with harder laws maybe they'll stop," said Diaz.
Tony says he knows a sure way to get the culprits to stay out of the paint. "They need to be out here removing it and seeing all the things we have to do to remove it," said Diaz.
City Council plans to vote on the legislation Tuesday, April 15th. In addition, the city is hoping to get $80,000 dollars of state funding to go towards graffiti removal in the northwest part of the city.