DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – With just 39 days left until the Super Bowl XLV kickoff at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Dallas is hoping for a new cooperative program with area businesses to battle graffiti.
City officials are worried that graffiti sends two messages: Dallas residents don’t care about appearances and that the area isn’t safe. City workers and volunteers began a new abatement program Wednesday to try and battle the illegal street art.
Dallas-based Stripco is one of three companies donating its products to eliminate as much graffiti as possible, as soon as possible. Workers are using something similar to a sand blaster, which removes graffiti but doesn’t damage any masonry.
“It removes any contaminants on its surface, but it doesn’t hurt the surface it’s spraying,” said Mark Rogala, a Stripco spokesman.
The graffiti is heavy in some areas, such as Oak Cliff. Anthony Gordon runs a personal loans business on Jefferson Blvd. Graffiti and poor attempts to cover it litter area walls. Owners must pay to have it painted over or face fines.
But worse for Gordon, he says, is the underlying message the graffiti appears to send.
“It could be perceived as a gang area,” he said, “which makes it harder for our customers to open a loan because of the area we’re located in.
As such, Gordon applauds the multi-pronged approach unveiled Wednesday.
“When you add up all of the costs of the builds that these folks are tagging, it’s a lot,” said District 1 Councilwoman Delia Jasso.
Jasso joined the Dallas Police Department Wednesday to introduce the plan to help clean up the city before the influx of football fans flood the area in February prior to the Super Bowl.
Stripco will loan three of its machines to the city. Sherwin-Williams is donating buckets of anti-graffiti coatings, which allows users to simply power-wash any graffiti put on it.
And CPS Security Solutions is loaning two solar-powered security cameras and real-time monitoring. Police, meanwhile, promise vigilance and prosecution of taggers.
“I want all of these would-be taggers or graffiti people who believe they’re artists (to know) it’s not artistry, it’s vandalism,” said Asst. Chief Tom Lawrence.
Jasso said the city has legitimate murals and competitions for spray painters who wish to safely express their artistic side. She promises the abatement will continue long after the Super Bowl comes and goes.