New Program Aims to Curb Graffiti

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Kansas City is fighting graffiti with a new plan with a $110,000 budget. The program is designed to clean up neighborhoods and deter crime. Graffiti is a problem across the city including the area of 31st and Troost.

The city says by giving neighborhoods the tools to clean up the graffiti and in some cases replace with murals, they're doing more than just covering up the problem. It's a public nuisance and vandalism and Kansas City says it's a bigger issue than just the blighting influence on neighborhoods left covered in spray paint.

"It really is a gateway to larger crimes that are more expensive to deal with, require a lot more effort to deal with," said Scott Wagner with KCMO City Council.

The city is now stepping up to cover up graffiti left behind.

"Hopefully not only move the problem away but also have something good standing in its place," said Wagner.

A new program will provide training, equipment and chemicals needed to remove tagging. And in some cases, commission artists to paint murals in its place.

"Murals have just been something that has consistently successful. Wherever we've had a problem area, where a mural has come, 99 percent of the time, tagging does not come back to it because the artwork is respected," he said.

Alexander Austin is one of the artists commissioned to paint in the past.

"It's aesthetics," he said. "It's for looks. It enhances the area. That's one of the main reasons they wanted to have it done."

Austin spent close to 300 hours on a mural on the side of a building at 31st & Troost. For six years it has been nearly graffiti free.

"This one kid complimented me. He said hey, Mr. Austin thanks for making the hood look good," he said .

Part of the $110,000 may fund programs to get urban youth involved. The city hopes to give street artists a new outlet so you'll see more building with murals instead of graffiti.

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