Volunteers remove more than 1,000 tags at graffiti cleanup
by Staff and contribution
May 08, 2013 | 1617 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Volunteers descended on the Pacific Beach area for an annual Graffiti Day Cleanup. This is a “before” shot of a couch and graffiti at a storm-drain outlet near Rose Creek Cottage. Courtesy photos by Mark Johnston
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“Every year, it seems like we have less to clean up,” said Adam Meyer, reflecting on a recent graffiti cleanup event in Pacific Beach. “That’s how we know it’s working. This year, we had 75 volunteers and we wiped out 1,042 graffiti ‘tags.’ For comparison, back in 2010 we cleaned, removed or covered up more than 1,300 of them.”

Meyer is vice president of the Pacific Beach Town Council. For the last six years, the council and the PB Presbyterian Church have joined forces for the Graffiti Cleanup Day.

Teams of volunteers met April 27 at the church, where they received a bucket full of supplies to remove paint, stickers and marking pen ink. Each team got training on how to remove or cover up graffiti and stickers.

“We couldn’t have done it without Motsenbocker’s Lift Off,” Meyer said. “They’re a San Diego company, and Gregg Motsenbocker lives in PB. The company makes environmentally safe products for removing graffiti and stickers.”

Meyer said the group also got donations of gear from other businesses, as well as cash donations from residents.

Town Council member Marcie Beckett put things in perspective.

“Getting rid of graffiti in our community is not just a matter of pride,” said Beckett. “Research shows that when the appearance of a neighborhood declines, the behavior of people declines, as well. For example, when there’s more graffiti, there’s more litter, too.”

The result of the annual event has been a reduction in graffiti, said organizers. Volunteers tend to clean up graffiti as soon as they see it, instead of waiting until the following year’s event.

“[Students] learned how graffiti affects their neighborhood, and they take pride in how their neighborhood looks,” Beckett said. “That feeling of connection with their community means they’re less likely to litter or do any tagging themselves.”

To report graffiti, call the city’s Graffiti Hotline at (619) 525-8522 or fill out a graffiti report online at www.sandiego.gov/graffiti/forms/sighting.shtml.
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