How big of a problem is graffiti in Denver?

Posted at 3:40 PM, Sep 25, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-25 17:40:21-04

The silhouette of mountains sitting behind Denver's skyline is a sight we are all used to seeing. But if you look closer, graffiti sometimes is also part of that picture.

"It's an opportunistic crime," said Denver Police Department Graffiti Unit Detective George Gray.

Gray, who works in the graffiti unit, said it is a crime that is prevalent in Denver.

Just in the last 30 days, the city's graffiti abatement crew cleaned about 27,000 cases.

But that number is a huge improvement compared to eight years ago.

"They were cleaning roughly 5.2 million square feet and now we are down to 1.5 million,” said Gray.

The drop is all thanks to a rise in community awareness through the city's ongoing efforts to fight the issue as well as police enforcement.

"We didn't have a record of telling me that, 'Hey this guy did this and that'," said Gray.

To improve the unit’s ability to find taggers in 2011, the DPD started using Graffiti Tracker.  The city's abatement crew snaps a picture of the graffiti and it gets uploaded into the program.

The program then determines what other graffiti is linked to the same tagger.

The program has helped put a dent into the crime through prosecuting taggers and holding them accountable.

"Our restitution is now a lot more than we are getting before," said Gray.

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