Knoxville experiencing significant increase in graffiti


(WBIR-Knoxville) The city of Knoxville is experiencing a significant increase in graffiti within the past two months.

Warmer weather can lead to more activity; city leaders plan to take action with spring on the way.

"I see it as a distraction and a nuisance," said Tony Rando, who works at Carletta's and Missy's Quality Furniture and Antiques on the corner of Broadway and Central St.

He went on to say, "It's just a shame that people take the ability of having their places looking good and then they come and do that."

The buildings on Broadway and Central have seen a noticeable amount of tagging. Tagging is when someone marks/signs a wall and then others usually follow.

Director of Public Service David Brace said the increase is not just affecting the downtown area but South Knoxville and the Old City.

Brace recommends building owners paint over it right away. Eventually, he said, they will stop coming back.

"They're just putting it all over the place," said Larry Knight, who volunteers at a nearby furniture store.

There are some building owners who allow graffiti art.

The Artist Alley Revamp Project has helped turn several alleyways into unique spaces.

"If the business owners are cool with people painting all over their buildings then more power to them," said Anas Demiri, while standing in an Old City alley that was transformed last summer.

"Instead of just covering it up, why don't you talk to someone who does art and put something beautiful there?" asked Chris Cornett.

Cornett is part of the Artist Alley Revamp Project.

"Some people just want to tag everything and some people actually want to make things look better," he said.

According to Brace, graffiti cleanup and prevention will be a focus for them in the spring. Brace said the cost to remove graffiti varies depending on the size and/or surface. He has been talking with the Tennessee Department of Transportation about vandalism on bridges and overpasses.

Removing graffiti and tagging can cost multiple departments within the city.


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