Heading west on Cunningham Street, building after building is tagged with fresh graffiti. Initials, phrases and images cover the facades of businesses and homes.
"There's probably 14 to 17 properties in which I've noticed graffiti and all within a 10-block radius," said Linda McNeely, 13th Ward.
City leaders say the graffiti paints a negative picture of the community and deters economic development in an area of the city that desperately needs it.
"The graffiti gives the impression that the area is a slum area or unmaintained or undesirable area and that's quite the contrary," McNeely said.
Many believe gang members are responsible for the graffiti and say it could be a sign of other problems. Aldermen have a strong message for whomever is doing the vandalism.
"If people want to own turf, they need to buy it. You don't own turf by painting paint on other people's buildings. I'm very confident. We're going to find the person and take serious action against them," said Alderman Victory Bell, 5th Ward.
Vandals hit two of Carmelo Barone's buildings this week. He says the graffiti comes in waves and turns away customers.
"I'm trying to get older people to come in here instead of all the kids in the summer time and they are scared. When they see that, they just pull away. They definitely need to patrol this area little more," Barone said.
Aldermen McNeely and Bell have requested more police patrols in the area and the city's graffiti cleanup patrol was out in the neighborhood Thursday, but vandals will likely strike again soon.
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For youths who may not be able to express themselves through other media, such as prose or music, graffiti represents an easily accessible and effective way to communicate with a large audience.
Modern graffiti generally falls into one of three categories--
Impact of Graffiti on a Community
Source: www.fbi.gov (The Federal Bureau of Investigation Web site) contributed to this report.