Downtown businesses seeing more graffiti

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Several downtown businesses are still cleaning up property that was tagged with graffiti overnight April 24, but it isn’t a new occurrence.

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A graffiti tag on the side of a construction dumpster on Ninth Street.  Bianca Cain Johnson
Bianca Cain Johnson
A graffiti tag on the side of a construction dumpster on Ninth Street.

Richmond County sheriff’s Investigator Dan Ferrel said seven businesses around the 900 block of Broad Street filed reports April 25 after they found “DE” or “DESO” painted across their walls. Sometimes profanity was included in the artwork.

“I’ve taken it off at least two other times,” said John Bowen, the president of Cross Creek Designer and Builder at 971 Broad St. “I’ve just had enough.”

Bowen said it cost about $200 to repaint walls and concrete flower pots.

After the initial reports, Ferrel found at least 17 graffiti tags on downtown walls. All followed the same pattern.

“It looked like a planned marketing event,” he said.

After speaking with downtown businesses, he said he learned the tagging has been going on for about a month, but many businesses clean it off and never report it.

The Clean Augusta Down­town Initiative will clean graffiti off a building for a small fee. Margaret Woodard, the executive director of the Down­town Development Au­thor­ity, which oversees the program, said she was not aware of the graffiti left April 24. CADI employees did their monthly rounds
Friday to look for graffiti.

Katie Lyle, the district vice president of the Family Y in downtown Augusta and North Augusta, reported graffiti on the Broad Street facility but did not want to prosecute.

Despite the vandalism, Lyle said she recognized the talent of the artists.

“I just hate that this is the avenue they’ve chosen to express
their artistic ability,” she said. She hopes those responsible will be found so they can be encouraged to find better avenues
for expressing their talent.

“Locking them up is not an option for us,” Lyle said.

Investigators are still trying to determine what the tags mean and who is responsible. Ferrel said it’s definitely not gang-related.

Some business owners suspect skateboarders, but Ferrel said there is no evidence to suggest that. A surveillance video from one of the businesses shows a group of young white males in hoodies spaying and brushing the art.

If prosecuted, the vandals will face charges of misdemeanor criminal trespass.

Bowen said he’s concerned the graffiti will turn people away from downtown if the issue isn’t addressed.

Comments (13) Add comment
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my.voice
4697
Points
my.voice 05/13/12 - 07:01 am
1
1
Deso is a famous graffiti

Deso is a famous graffiti artist. There's also a rapper who goes by that name.

seenitB4
83988
Points
seenitB4 05/13/12 - 08:41 am
0
3
Duh

Don't yall know art when ya see it....ok countyman....I know ya can't have them messing up your downtown area......run those rascals outta there..:)

Jane18
12332
Points
Jane18 05/13/12 - 11:53 am
4
2
Talented Artists? I don't think so....

Boo-hoo-hoo, Katie Lyle! Defacing property belonging to someone else is Not "expressing artistic abilities"! It is a crime, and should be treated as such!

Lori Davis
868
Points
Lori Davis 05/13/12 - 03:11 pm
7
1
There was never supposed to

There was never supposed to be a charge for CADI to remove graffiti. The CADI program works from a budget of $350,000 plus dollars a year with bearly 8 employees. Money could be better spent on real public safety complete with cameras to catch vandals. There is also graffiti all over downtown, some there for over two years. Who decided that CADI was going to charge to remove graffiti? What a waste of money. Downtown business owners will have a chance this year to straighten out this CADI mess. The BID program will be up for renewal and coming from one who spends a lot of time downtown, it is a colossal waste of tax payer money.

Conservative Man
5353
Points
Conservative Man 05/13/12 - 07:09 pm
3
0
My understanding is that what

My understanding is that what sold most downtown business owners on CADI was, #1..public safety, #2, graffiti removal. Seems as if #1 is secondary and #2 is a priority...if you pay for it....Pardon me for asking the obvious. Don't downtown business owners ALREADY pay for it? Or is this a classic case of double taxation?
But what really troubles me is that if what Ms. Davis says is true, that the DDA collects almost a half a million bucks in taxes every year for this project and all they have are a few minimum wage "trash-picker-uppers"....where does the rest of THAT money go?....Just wondering...Any response Ms. Woodard?..

Iwannakno
1533
Points
Iwannakno 05/13/12 - 08:04 pm
1
0
When does anything in ARC
Unpublished

When does anything in ARC government go to what it's really for? The DDA is a funnel for tax dollars. Why does ARC have so many sub committees and need all these stupid studies that they don't need or even use. What a joke the city is. No wonder we are always thought of as backward hicks.

Discussionstarter
478
Points
Discussionstarter 05/13/12 - 08:31 pm
2
0
Catch them and prosecute

Small businesses have enough to worry about.

raul
4430
Points
raul 05/13/12 - 09:52 pm
3
0
Like Jane18 said. Nothing

Like Jane18 said. Nothing artistic about graffiti. Lived in Europe for 12 years and hated seeing churches, and historic architecture defaced by these so called artists. It looked like cra*p and decreased the value of everything around it. These punks need to be caught and their faces used to scrub off their "art". My.voice stated Deso is a famous graffiti artist and there is also Deso the rapper. I put them in the same class. Neither is an artist.

itsanotherday1
41309
Points
itsanotherday1 05/13/12 - 10:08 pm
4
0
Graffitti = vandalism

It is vandalism pure and simple, and should be prosecuted to the full extent.

FriedFacts
61
Points
FriedFacts 05/14/12 - 06:23 am
0
0
The Word Tagged Should Be Replaced
Unpublished

The buildings weren't tagged. They were defaced and the wording of the article should reflect that fact. Saying something was tagged only plays into this idea that some kind of artistic intent is related to this vandalism.

Augresident2000
6
Points
Augresident2000 05/14/12 - 11:33 am
1
0
Vandalism

Well said all. I agree that graffiti is vandalism and that whoever spent their evening painting Downtown needs to be prosecuted. But maybe the comment about prosecution was made because the damage on some buildings wasn't as bad as it was on others. All of the local businesses have the right to prosecute or not. If some want to, they should and if others don't, then that is their right. While I agree that it is illegal (and my personal hope is they will be caught), adding more inmates to our prison system wont fix the problem. These kids (or adults) need something else to do and sadly jail wont fix that.

raul
4430
Points
raul 05/14/12 - 02:26 pm
0
0
@augresident2000

Aug, actually I was thinking more like a fine and 200 hours of community service cleaning graffiti rather than jail time.

dichotomy
31619
Points
dichotomy 05/14/12 - 02:55 pm
1
0
"“Locking them up is not an

"“Locking them up is not an option for us,” Lyle said"

I recommend snipers with night vision scopes. Usually breaks up the group when the first one drops before the paint hits the wall. Now THAT'S art.

raul
4430
Points
raul 05/14/12 - 04:04 pm
0
0
@dichotomy. LOL. They may

@dichotomy. LOL. They may take a few points from you with that one! Ha.

Conservative Man
5353
Points
Conservative Man 05/14/12 - 08:54 pm
0
0
Still waiting....

Still waiting on a response from the DDA....but I'm not holding my breath...

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