Grand Canyon University Donates To Phoenix's Graffiti Removal Program

April 12, 2014

(Photo by Alexandra Olgin-KJZZ)
Graffiti on a wall off of 37th Avenue and Camelback Road near Grand Canyon University.
(Photo by Alexandra Olgin-KJZZ)
Dumpsters covered with graffiti on 37th Avenue in Phoenix.
(Photo by Alexandra Olgin-KJZZ)
Graffiti covers walls in an alley off of Camelback Road in Phoenix.

Phoenix is facing a $38 million deficit and steep cuts to public services. One of which is graffiti removal. Friday, Grand Canyon University donated $25,000 to the city’s graffiti clean-up program.

Friday’s contribution will give the city more resources to establish a graffiti free zone in the area that surrounds GCU from I-17 to 35th Avenue and from Camelback Road to Missouri Avenue.

“Graffitti is a problem everywhere. You know, when you see graffiti that the first sign that a neighborhood is up for grabs. So, the goal is to take care of that graffiti as soon as you see it," said City Councilman Daniel Valenzuela. "Well that takes money to do that."

Cleaning up the markings on the wall makes the city look better, but according to Richie Mendoza it doesn’t actually fix the problem.

“It’s more about like territory too, like kinda gangs, because someone goes up and writes their name and then some other guys like no this is where I stay. You know cross him out and write his name," said Mendoza. "And that’s where beef starts."

Mendoza said he was a tagger, leaving graffiti in his neighborhood. We walked down an alley near the university. Dumpsters, barbed wire topped walls, garages and bricks are covered with spray painted words.

Mendoza left the graffiti scene because it got too dangerous. He is not convinced washing down walls does any good.

“It just gives the guys like more opportunity. Like hey, there is a brand new wall right there. I’m gonna tag it up again you know,” Mendoza said.

Despite what Mendoza said, removing graffiti within 24 to 48 hours is key to preventing future tagging. That is according to Graffiti Hurts, a national organization.

The budget cuts could mean Phoenix would lose four graffiti busters.