Driving through any major city, it’s hard not to notice the existence of graffiti. In Fort Worth, there's a daily effort to erase it.
"A lot of people do not know that we exist," said Detra Call, the city's graffiti abatement coordinator.
Fort Worth's graffiti abatement program is just six people strong, with only four of them in the field on a daily basis, including a supervisor and three one-man units. But the program is assisted by community service workers.
They're out every day in the city following up on reports and looking for graffiti themselves.
"Every single day of the week, every single day," Call said.
Last year crews cleaned up 3,844 locations, and since 2002 have abated more than 64,000 places, totaling nearly six million square feet. The problems are clearly not going away.
"This problem is persistent," Call said. "It's very unpredictable. We're always out finding new places."
But they're also returning to familiar places, too. A half-mile stretch of West Risinger Road in far southwest Fort Worth has been cleaned-up five times already this year. A police report from late March said there were 70-plus taggings along a brick fence. Further down the street, Hallmark Baptist Church reported its playground was also vandalized. But two days later, another graffiti report gave "a big THANK YOU" for the clean-up and also reported another bit of graffiti on the sidewalk.
"We're out there, if not that same day, the very next day," Call said. "The sooner we find the occurrence, the quicker we want to get it off."
The reason for moving so quickly is that if graffiti lingers too long, other people will start tagging in the area as well. And by constantly getting rid of the graffiti it may cause the perpetrators to lose interest or simply run out of funds to keep tagging.
That's why the program needs the public's help in fighting the problem. Call said residents should file a police report if their property has been damaged to help track those behind the graffiti. And residents should also call the graffiti abatement program to report problems, as the work crews will take care of the rest.
"We are aggressive. We are very aggressive," Call said.
You can reach the graffiti abatement program by calling 817-212-2700 or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The program is funded through CCPD.