ADAMS COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — Since 2015, Adams County has worked to remove graffiti in the unincorporated areas of the county.
In a community meeting Tuesday morning the Adams County Board of Commissioners unanimously voted to enter into an intergovernmental agreement with the City of Brighton for graffiti removal services, meaning the current team can broaden its jurisdiction to include Brighton as well.
Right now, the graffiti team can only work in unincorporated areas and cities they received approval for work.
The Brighton City Council previously approved the intergovernmental agreement.
How does the Graffiti Program work?
Adams County said they wanted to stop double victimizing members of the community.
They would get tagged and on top of that, get a violation letter from code enforcement saying if they don’t clean it up they’ll be fined.
No fines are issued with the graffiti program, and the graffiti is painted over for free.
In the last year, 2,300 incidents of graffiti across public and private spaces were cleaned.
Initially, they just did residential projects, now they do everything from dumpsters to parks and trails, utility boxes, and more.
Ryan Dodge, a Graffiti Removal & Code Compliance Officer, said it is making a difference.
“It just makes the community feel safer. The beautification of the county looks better,” Dodge said.
“It’s amazing the feedback we get from people, they stop on the trails, they roll their windows down. People aren’t at a stoplight looking at a very inappropriate thing on the back of a sign. So it’s just a good feeling that we can go out and change the face of a county day-by-day-by-day and go home knowing you know, they’re not seeing that stuff out there.”
The program leaves its own mark
The program is doing more than just cleaning up, it’s leaving its mark on people too.
In 2021, the Adams County Neighborhood Services Department started a seasonal program to expand its teams for the peak seasons.
They now recruit people with a history of criminal involvement, homelessness and poverty, or behavioral and mental health concerns to help remove graffiti as well.
They’ve had many success stories where homeless people or those struggling work through the program and then get a full-time job and housing.
“Unfortunately, people with lived experience with drug issues and mental health issues, oftentimes have a lot harder time finding employment. So we wanted to do a pilot program that allowed people,” Dodge said. “An opportunity to get a job, a steady paycheck, work for the government, get some skills, build their resume, and ultimately hope for them to go on to full-time work.”
David Haldburd is just one example of that. He was out of work for quite some time while he was taking care of his mom. the workforce program at the county lead him to the graffiti program and now he has a full-time job as a code compliance officer at Adams County.
“It meant the world to me. I mean, I was going through hard times. Me and my wife. We were just pinching pennies trying to get by until we got on the program and it just saved my life,” Halburd said. “It was a blessing, that’s for sure.”
How do I report graffiti?
Right now the community can report graffiti but the team also goes around canvassing the community for it.
They can remove graffiti on houses and businesses, currently, the program offers only gray or tan paint or a power washer. If the property owner provides the paint color they will still help with the removal.
To report graffiti, call 720-523-6565 or email email@example.com. Their goal is to remove it within 48 hours, depending on the weather.
There is also a graffiti map on the county website where you can where the crews have cleaned 192 tags in May and 608 tags in 2023.
Each year since 2019, the number of marks clean has increased.