NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Businesses near downtown are fed up with people vandalizing their buildings.
Over the past week, several businesses have been tagged with graffiti in the Interstate 40/Second Avenue area.
One business said last week was the first time their actual building was spray painted, but in the past signs in the parking lot were tagged.
According to Metro police, it is the responsibility of the property owner to remove the graffiti.
News 2 sent pictures of various words spray painted on buildings to Metro police to determine if they are tied to gang activity.
MNPD’s gang unit reviewed the pictures and said it appears the graffiti is the work of taggers and is not affiliated with known gangs in Nashville.
The graffiti is also on some high-mounted highway signs over I-40 West, near the I-24 split.
The Tennessee Department of Transportation told News 2 that within the last few weeks they had to spray paint the back of three signs in the downtown area, which amounted to about 545 square feet of graffiti.
Spokeswoman Kathryn Schulte said when graffiti is on the face of signs they patch it with reflective sheeting material.
“It is a regular thing for us to deal with, both on signs and on structures,” she wrote in an email. “Our work on signs usually happens at night because of traffic concerns.”
Hydro Pro Pressure Washing specializes in graffiti removal. The company uses a combination of chemicals and water to remove the spray paint.
“As Nashville continues to grow we are seeing more of it,” owner Shaun Gross said. “You have more kids out there who are mischievous.”
Gross networks with other pressure washing companies across the country and said other cities are seeing increases in vandalism.
“Even in nicer neighborhoods we get homeowner associations calling us about vandalism in common areas,” Gross said. “It is usually where kids can get easier access like common grounds such as playgrounds and picnic areas.”
Preventing graffiti can be hard to do since the vandals usually hit at night, but Gross said a great defense from graffiti is quick removal.
“It has been proven that if you get it removed within the first 48 hours it’s less likely they are going to come back,” Gross said. “Just like any artist, they want their tag to stay there and they want to cover a large area. If they see it being removed immediately they are going to move somewhere else.”
He continued, “Sometimes you may have to do it twice but the key is to remove it really quick,”
In Nashville parents can be held liable for damages if they allow or know that their child under 18 years old having spray paint.
Fines for graffiti can be as much as $500.
If you see vandalism on a public building or structure you can report it to Metro Nashville’s Public Works graffiti hotline at 615-880-2444.