Blasting Away Graffiti In Lexington

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Graffiti is nothing new for Lexington but once school lets out, the Fayette County Sheriff's Department says it seems like more and more graffiti sites or "gang tags" start showing up. Wednesday, police were out trying to clean them up.

Officer Shannon Gahafer is part of the Clear Unit Community Law Enforcement Action Response Unit. She says sometimes the graffiti is about one group disrespecting another.

"The blue color one lets the presence be known of one group then the black is another group showing disrespect and put their name over top," she said.

Officer Gahafer says these gang tags can escalate to more than just writing on the wall. She says sometimes they contain threats.

A tag isn't necessarily targeting someone, it usually means a gang claims that territory. Gahafer says, "It's not meant for general public to read it, but it's for the gang or group members."

Captain Ron Watson heads up the graffiti scrub team and he says these tags are not just in isolated areas

"They are all over the city. We go from end to end. I've been doing it for three years or something now and we've done 50 thousand tags that we've cleaned off," he said.

There are thousands more around town and this time of year is when it gets busy for the scrub team.

"When school lets out it picks up we go from one to two inmates to four helping take care of it," Watson said.

The group brings jail inmates out to sandblast the graffiti. It costs the sheriff's department several thousand dollars for the program but thankfully, many of the materials are donated from local businesses.

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