As part of Safe Yakima's "Graffiti Be Gone" campaign, NBC Right Now wanted to know exactly how much taggers are costing local business owners.
YAKIMA, WA - As part of Safe Yakima's "Graffiti Be Gone" campaign, NBC Right Now wanted to know exactly how much taggers are costing local business owners.
It's ugly on the eyes and ugly on the pocketbooks.
"I would say each time that they graffiti, we probably spend about $250 to repaint," said Roger Wilson, owner of Wilson Real Estate.
"We spend about $500 a month on labor and paint every month just to paint over graffiti," said Enrique Jevons, a Property Manager and Real Estate Managing Broker.
$6,000 a year, which is money Enrique Jevons said could be used making improvements to the 500 apartments and homes he manages rather than continuously painting over the same graffiti hot spots. Not only is Jevons burdened with the clean up costs, he said graffiti also scares potential clients away.
"We might have a nice home, but if the whole surrounding areas are all tagged up with graffiti, they don't want to rent there for fear that it might be a bad neighborhood," Jevons said. "The reality is, it may not be necessarily a bad neighborhood, but it just looks that way because there's so much graffiti all over the place."
Jevons said he installed cameras to try to catch whoever is behind the tagging, but within one week a suspect stole the cameras. Now, Yakima Police do have a picture of the suspect but the problem is identifying him.
Roger Wilson is also taking matters into his own hands. He said one of his properties on South First Street got sprayed every week until he put up a fence to keep people from climbing on top of the building. But taggers still manage to hit some parts of the building, and Wilson said they've re-painted about 10 times in the past five months.
"It feels like you've kind of been violated when you have the paint on the building, and then we have the expense of having to have people come over and paint the building," Wilson said.
Business owners said this is a problem the whole community needs to address. They hope people don't become immune to constant graffiti, and instead report what they see to the city.
You can report graffiti online. Just go to the City of Yakima's website and fill out a "graffiti permission form," and it will get painted over at no charge to you.