DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — Some people consider it art, but graffiti tags are a growing problem in the City of Dayton.
According to the Downtown Dayton Partnership, 2,337 tags were removed in 2022 compared to just 544 in 2021. So far in 2023, 728 tags were cleaned up. Sandy Gudorf, the President of the Downtown Dayton Partnership, said people need to realize this is a form of vandalism.
“We’ve got people who think that when they do graffiti, it’s art. But when you put it on other people’s property or in the public right away, that’s vandalism,” Gudorf explained.
Gudorf said graffiti is a tricky issue to deal with. It is difficult to catch the people responsible for the tags, and it takes time and resources to clean up the paint.
“Sometimes it can just be power washed off. Other times the ambassadors have to get approval from the property owners to repaint over,” Gudorf said.
The Downtown Dayton Ambassadors work weekly to get rid of graffiti; they try to tackle the tags within 24 hours. Gudorf said they do not know why the city is seeing this increase in graffiti. She said one of their strategies for deterring this type of vandalism is beautifying the city, like wrapping the utility boxes with art. Last year, only one of the wrapped boxes were tagged.
“We have noticed once spaces are beautified, whether it’s with murals or other art or just well-maintained buildings, quite often those buildings and those murals are left alone. So, it shows a sign of respect,” Gudorf explained.
Gudorf encourages people to call police if they see someone tagging. If someone is caught, they could be charged with a felony and could be required to pay a fine.