Phoenix spends $2 million a year to wipe out graffiti, reduce blight

The city of Phoenix has a team of “graffiti busters” that help coordinate graffiti removal. (Photo by Ziyi Zeng/Cronkite News)

The city of Phoenix spends about $2 million a year to clean up graffiti.

As part of Graffiti Free Awareness month, the city is encouraging residents to spread the word about the problems of graffiti and how to fight it.

The goal is to “get neighborhoods, the community more involved, recognizing the blight in our neighborhood, which is graffiti,” said Lee Staten, volunteer coordinator with the city’s Neighborhood Services Department.

The city has a MyPhxAz app residents can use to report the location of graffiti. City officials regularly hold workshops to teach residents how to battle graffiti. And the department also will provide free paint and supplies to groups organizing community cleanups this month, according to the city.

The city has a team of “graffiti busters” that coordinates graffiti removal.

“Graffiti lowers property value, it discourages businesses and homeowners from coming to the Valley,” Staten said.

Painting graffiti is a class one misdemeanor than can lead to jail time, fees of $575 or more and community service.

Stefon White, who’s been working as graffiti buster for years, said the areas affected the most by graffiti are concentrated in central and south Phoenix. However, he said he has seen a decrease of graffiti over the years.

Phoenix GraffitiInfographic