Alderman Wants to See Drug Bust Money Used to Clean Up Streets

Graffiti activity has more than doubled over the course of the past year and Fifth Ward Alderman Victory Bell has had enough.

"It's not a question of how much money it’s going to cost, we're just going to have to address this because you can't get new development in areas where graffiti is as visible as it is now," Bell says.

At the last city council meeting, Bell proposed a resolution that would put money seized during drug raids towards a special task force dedicated to permanently erasing graffiti.

"Drugs are causing a lot of problems in the older neighborhoods and I would like to see some of those funds come back into the neighborhoods," Bell says.

Bell says the increased graffiti in his fifth ward is the visible ending of a chain reaction.

"I think all these problems go hand in hand. If you have graffiti, you have gangs, and if you have gangs, you have increased drug use," Bell says.

He adds efforts to clean up the streets start in area schools.

"The more people you get into school and the more people you get into these programs, the less people you have on the street to do damage to people's property," Bell says.

Bell points to neighborhood watch programs as one of the most effective deterrents of graffiti. He says the majority of graffiti activity comes from repeat offenders. City council is looking into potentially installing video cameras in problem areas as well as making people register before being able to buy cans of spray paint.