DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) - It is a normal site driving down Xenia Avenue as graffiti finds its home on blank walls.
"It's kind of sad and nasty," said Chuck Crawford. "It makes people feel like they're living in a neighborhood that's even more rundown than it really is."
But there is one wall that remains untouched in front of an empty building.
It is a mural showing how beautiful the area can become.
"People have asked, 'Well, aren't you afraid that this really pretty artwork is going to get trashed up again?'" said Crawford. "Not really because most graffiti artists, they don't want to mess up artwork and are respectful of each other's artworks."
It is a means to end the repetition of painting over graffiti just to have it come back later.
The city of Dayton spends nearly $70,000 a year clearing graffiti, including supplies and manpower.
But the thought of creating murals on blank walls to stop graffiti is beginning to spread.
Across the street, another wall is an example where East End Community Services has left its mark.
What was once a wall covered in graffiti, is now a testament to imagination.
"The key thing is prevention and try to get these folks because some folks are great artists in the graffiti you see," said Maj. Brian Johns with the Dayton Police Department. "We want those folks to help us out. We want to cover up walls like this."
It has even received attention from the Dayton Police Department.
The department is now putting out the call to all artists, including graffiti artists, to use their skills cleaning up communities.
Officers are working in the newly created "East Dayton Graffiti Task Force" aimed at improving neighborhoods through problem solving.
"Information is helpful to us to understand how to engage the community, use a beautification project like this to reduce crime ultimately."
It is just a matter of crime prevention by beautification.
"That's their whole goal. The community, businesses, artists join together to cover up the bad graffiti and put art in its place. That's what it's all about.")
Police are hoping it is the start of something bigger across Dayton.
Cleaning up the streets, one brick canvas at a time.
Anyone looking to report offenders, volunteer time, or donate supplies is asked to contact the East Dayton Graffiti Task Force at 937-333-7440.
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