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Sunday, July 24, 2005

Who is Removing the Plague of Graffiti in Lynchburg?

Where Lynchburg meets the River James, the city has made great strives forward in completing a face lift which we all can be proud. There are some, however who are undoing the effort. (pictures all downtown Lynchburg near the river front, click picture to enlarge)

All it takes is to grab a can of spray paint and make their mark defacing the city were we all live. These scrawls of graffiti are being ignored by our city. And most residents choose not to acknowledge its presence. We look the other way.

Little or no effort, has been made by the city to remove this blight. We do have laws of enforcement, but no action or policy for the removal once it has occurred.

If by chance, I have missed a city policy on graffiti abatement please let me know.

Other communities across the United States have recognized the importance of removing graffiti as quickly as possible. Some have graffiti reporting numbers, and the city responds within 24 hours. Others have community action groups were volunteers work to keep the walls clean. Some cities provide the paint and removal equipment free of charge so property owners can rid themselves of this blight. A quick scan in search engines on graffiti abatement will show you the various efforts cities make. And there was even a suggestion from one of my readers, that those in our jails should be put to work removing graffiti and also clearing brush.

There are reasons communities act quickly, besides the apparent one of keeping there walls clean. They remove them for two other reasons and these reasons can be seen repeated over and over. The first reason is this is the mark of gangs and how they warn others to stay out of their territory. The second is called tagging were one gang lets another gangs know that they are not going to respect their territory.

Cities and even smaller communities have now recognized that when they remove the markings of gangs promptly, that not only do they improve the appearance of the city, they disrupt the influence of gangs.

So let me ask you again, where is Lynchburg's graffiti abatement program?

(Gangs, graffiti, drugs, and violence) (Local police, law and crime) (Local news)


At 12:37 PM, Anonymous iwwobbly said...

A lot of graffiti isn't gang related,it's just kids "tagging" for fun.

At 12:47 PM, Blogger B O B said...

Thank you for your comment. Perhaps you are right in some instances. Fun that is illegal, and shows an attempt to emulate gangs, which we should not disregard. I have a personal question for you iwwobbly, the meaning of your nickname has not slipped by me. Perhaps you may want to explain to rest of Lynchburg what it means?

At 1:48 PM, Anonymous iwwobbly said...

It means I'm a member of The Industrial Workers of the World also known as "Wobblys".

At 2:10 PM, Blogger B O B said...

Thank you for your reply. That organization has quite a history doesn't it, with links to communism, socialism, anarchists. Were not some of its members the first residents of Leavenworth (the first Federal Pen), because of their radical activities such as bomb throwing? During WWI were they not the primary demonstrators against the war and in WWII were they not questioned for their anti American acts? In 1949 was not the IWW declared a subversive group? And today, are they not associated with the extreme left and their activities still associated with anarchists and socialists?

At 3:14 PM, Anonymous iwwobbly said...

The IWW is primarily a labor union,though many members have been anarchists or socialists.As far as I know no wobbly ever engaged in bomb throwing,but there were violent clashes with strike breakers hired by bosses,and some IWW members were lynched by vigilanties.Many wobblies were given long prison sentences during WWI for their opposition to that war.I would't say the IWW were the primary demonstrators against WWII as they were a very small group at that point.During the "Red scare" and McCarthyism of the late 40's and 50's they were among the groups concidered subversive.Today the IWW numbers aprox.1000 members and most of our activities center on union organizing and worker rights.And in case you're wondering,while I'm sympathetic to the ideals of anarchism,I consider myself a democratic socialist.

At 3:33 PM, Blogger Tavis Pitt said...

Our local council and community groups organise a 'Paint the Pavement' event. People are invited to paint designs (including graffiti) on paper laid out on the pedestrianised shopping area of our local town. This doesn’t resolve graffiti, but it can help the two viewpoints of graffiti (kids and residents) understand each other standpoint.

The event is happening tomorrow (Monday 25 July 2005) actually, see for details.

At 3:52 PM, Blogger B O B said...

Thanks for your comments. Tavis I will be looking at the website you recommended. And iwwobby, I am glad you could inform Lynchburg about your affilations so we could add the proper weight to your point of view.

At 4:35 PM, Anonymous LPD Officer said...

Just to let you know, all of the photos attached at the top of this page are from "tagger's". None are gang related.

At 9:52 AM, Blogger B O B said...

Thank you for your comment, LPD officer, my contacts in the LPD think otherwise. They also point out that the vandalism at Lynchburg Grows is a area where these "taggers" have also been active. If we do not respond to "taggers" who continue to deface the city regardless of their affiliations, are we sending the message wanton destruction is OK in Lynchburg?

At 2:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i think that the graffiti in lynchburg is more tan you just think... Many people who do graffiti have no relaions with gangs, and also, many people who have done graffiti, do it for the love of the art... maybe if some people such as yourself, were a little more open minded and actually looked at the artistic side of it, you would understand what im saying.

At 11:03 AM, Anonymous Tim Howell said...

There is no true solution for gang garffiti. As long as there are troubled kids there will be gangs, and as long as there are paint cans in stores, there will be gang graffiti on the city walls. However, when it comes to the artistic nature of graffiti, a great solution would be to open up one of our larger walls, or building that isn't currently being used to organize events that allow these individuals to come out and paint freely and express themselves through this artform. I know a lot of individuals into this and they all agree that opening up a legal wall or building would decrease the vandalism significantly, and would give them a chance to have there art be recognized in a positive way. It would boost moral in a lot of different aspects.

At 6:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's not gang graffiti. I have seen VERY little gang related graffiti in Lynchburg. It is mostly kids doing it for a rush(which is called "bombing") or to express their creativity(piecing). Unfortunately, the latter is rarely seen in Lynchburg other than underneath bridges and on the sides of trains. I consider Piecing to be art, as it takes practice, can control, and patience. The point of "Bombing" is to make your name known, to hit as many spots as you can as fast as you can. The more difficult the spot, the more respect your going to get for it. Yes it is illegal and a horrible idea, but think what you want of it. Give credit where credit is due. Many of these young kids have an extraordinary amount of artistic talent, and unfortunately, that is how they channel it. I personally like the art that has been popping up recently(the stencils and what not), it adds color and gives the city character. Always livens up my strolls through downtown Lynchburg. Anyways, that's my two cents

At 6:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And Tim, although that is a good idea IN THEORY, it would actually cause more graffiti. It's called "The Broken Window Effect". A legal wall would be nice, but ultimately, it would just encourage the act.

At 6:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Graffiti artists are not in gangs, they are in Crews(which by definition, is a gang, but only because a gang is considered 3 or more people that commit illegal activities). There are so few crews in Lynchburg that you could count them on one hand. Try Crew, V.P., A.O.E., and H.F.V. are the only ones I can think of. The only thing they do is graffiti, they don't sell drugs, jump people, steal cars, or anything even remotely harmful to other people. I completely understand why business owners get upset, but honestly, is it really hurting anything or anyone? I think not.


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