The presence of graffiti not only is visually unappealing, it also makes people think Yakima is not a good place to live.
YAKIMA, WA - "Yakima is going to be a worse place because of graffiti," Earl Hall said. He helps organize graffiti clean ups around town.
And that is the image we are trying to get away from. The presence of graffiti not only is visually unappealing, it also makes people think Yakima is not a good place to live.
"They perceive it to be gang ridden, they perceive it to be unsafe, the big push is that Yakima is better than that," Hall said.
Last year crews with the city cleaned up graffiti in more than 12-thousand locations costing more than $50,000.00 to complete.
Staff at the Office of Neighborhood Development said northeast and southeast Yakima are the hardest hit areas with graffiti, specifically the area north of Lincoln Avenue and the area west of 5th Avenue all the way up to Fruitvale Boulevard.
"That area right there's been significantly hit, but you know graffiti is prevalent throughout the city," said Archie Matthews from Neighborhood Development.
"The higher crime areas is where we generally find the majority of the graffiti taking place," Detective Mike Russell from the Sheriff's Office said.
"We also notice that many places that are out by their lonesome, out by themselves, warehouses for example for the sheriff's office is a popular target that we end up responding to," he continued.
There is also no real predictable pattern law enforcement can follow to stop graffiti before it starts. They just have to respond as quickly as they can.
"It's really just random. We can have a bunch of graffiti show up at one particular place over the course of a week or two and we won't get reports for months if ever again," Detective Russell said.
And those who have lived here a long time say it's time to take back the city.
"I've been here for 21 years and numbers are going up. What we need is 90,000 people taking responsibility for their own graffiti," Matthews said.
"We made the decision to live in Yakima, we want to make sure the next generation does too," Hall said.