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Graffiti taggings on the rise in Salt Lake City

SALT LAKE CITY, (ABC 4 News) - Salt Lake City spends nearly $400,000 a year providing graffiti removal services free to residents and businesses.
SALT LAKE CITY, (ABC 4 News) - Salt Lake City spends nearly $400,000 a year providing graffiti removal services free to residents and businesses.

Graffiti Removal Supervisor Brent Ahlander said taggings around the city are increasing, which is why for about the past decade, the city has allocated part of taxpayer funds to the program.

He said people keeping a watchful eye on the city report graffiti through telephone or email.

"We have a regular group of people that call in on a regular basis for multiple sites," Ahlander said.

Graffiti removal crews are busy five days a week to keep up with the demand. Ahlander said crews average about 25 sites a day, which range from small taggings on a stop sign or light pole to large graffiti on the side of a building.

Salt Lake City Police Chief Chris Burbank said the $400,000 figure does not reflect what it costs for officers to respond to new incidents or to investigate the more prolific taggers in town.

Burbank said there are different types of graffiti, from taggers leaving their stylized moniker or gang members marking their territory, to street art that a property owner commissions or allows. While Burbank says the latter adds to a vibrant city-scape, the former "does nothing but invite more criminal activity or tear down a neighborhood."

Ahlander said the program works with donated paint. To keep them rolling, donations of latex or water based paint are gratefully accepted.

If you'd like to report graffiti or donate paint, click here to contact the Salt Lake City's Graffiti Removal Program.
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