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Denver’s graffiti unit makes strides

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DENVER — The city spends about $1.4 million each year cleaning up graffiti.

“We remove on average about 2-million square feet of  tagging each year,” said Neddra Niblet. “We even take images of the tagging and send them to Los Angeles, where they are entered into a data base, so officers can track by stroke, handle and type of paint. When people get arrested we can pull up their work from months and years ago.”

One barber, Ed Nocera, has been getting tagged since 1964. Just off I-70, his shop is very visible from the highway.

“Those guys hit me three times in one week,” said Nocera.

Because he bought a five gallon bucket of paint, he is grand-fathered in to the city program, he pays nothing for the city’s removal effort. To report tagging, simply call 311 and give them the particulars about the incident.

While murals are legal—with the building owners permission—they must be registered so they won’t get removed by the graffiti team. Some business owners say there is a muralist – tagger battle going on in many neighborhoods. A mural goes up and taggers deface it.

“I love the urban art,” said Leslie Fishbein. “We just want people to leave the murals alone, if we catch them we will give them all they can handle.”

On July 25 folks from Capitol Hill will gather at East High for the 6th annual graffiti “Brush Off” event. If you love art but hate the damaging and costly graffiti, be there or be square!

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