GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - Graffiti keeps popping up on garages, fences and businesses around town, according to property owners and police.
It's a problem that police call "Facebook for thugs," often used as advertisements for local gangs or a way for artists to show off.
"It's frustrating because it's our property and they just put whatever they want," The New Yorker Menswear co-owner Tarek Jammal said. "They're not thinking about the business owner, the patron or anyone that has to walk around here and deal with that."
24 Hour News 8 uncovered graffiti in most corners of Grand Rapids -- from Eastown to the southwest side.
"It's been two months. I've called four times on this particular batch of marks," Travis Otto, a homeowner on the southwest side, said.
He often calls the city for help because "taggers" continue to vandalize the fence across the street from his house. Sometimes, he takes matters into his own hands -- he said he's painted the fence eight times already.
A few blocks down, someone spray-painted most of the garages in an alley near Burton Street and Stafford Avenue SW.
"You see it and the next time you come over, it's re-done," Gabrielle Rhodes, who frequently visits a friend in the area, said. "I'm just like, 'Is there a point?' and 'Is that your house?' I mean, if it's your house, I understand. If it's not, there's no point. That's just rude."
It's a never-ending process with one solution, police told 24 Hour News 8.
"Get it cleaned up as quick as you can," GRPD Officer Jeremy Huffman said. "That way, it doesn't keep popping up over and over again. If you get hit again, paint it over it again. Just keep doing it."
Jammal follows that advice, but still doesn't see any long-term solution.
"We've been doing this for 36 years," said Jammal. "Every year, twice a year, we're taking this down. We're calling people out to clean it. It'll never stop -- hasn't yet, and I don't know if it ever will."
If vandals hit a home or business, the city encourages property owners to call the graffiti hotline at 616.456.3666.
The city will send workers to clean it up for free, though that process may take longer in the winter. Also, the city only has two colors of paint: gray and white.
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