East, Southeast ward residents say graffiti invasion not being addressed in their neighborhoods

East, Southeast ward residents say graffiti invasion not being addressed in their neighborhoods
October 13
13:28 2022

As the City of Arts and Innovation, it’s not uncommon to see a mural painted on a public wall or even on some of the bus stops throughout the city. But earlier this week, residents came together to discuss some of the unsanctioned artwork that has been showing up on walls across the city – graffiti. 

During the meeting hosted by N.C. House Representative-elect Kanika Brown and the Coalition for Neighborhood Association’s  presidents, constituents who live in District 71, which includes portions of the East and Southeast wards, brainstormed ways to address the growing issue. 

Several residents complained about the graffiti that has seemed to take over Waughtown Street and the Easton neighborhood. One resident who lives in Easton said the sign in front of the neighborhood has been tagged several times and that the city has said they aren’t responsible for cleaning it because the sign is considered private property. 

Currently the city has an ordinance that requires property owners to clean graffiti on their buildings, but they have been exploring adding to that ordinance for several years. The city is required to notify businesses and private owners when property has been vandalized. 

Rev. Robert Leake III, president of the Easton Neighborhood Association, said graffiti has been an issue in the community for years and it seems nothing has changed. Leak, who is the associate pastor at Mount Pleasant Christian Holiness Church, said residents need to put pressure on members of city council. 

“This isn’t the first time we’ve had this conversation in this community and as a city as a whole … we have to have a better solution,” Leak continued. “We’ve got to come up with something. We have to put pressure on the city council that they have to allocate money to hire contract workers to remove the graffiti. That’s the only solution that I think is going to be the answer.” 

Willie Malone, who lives in the Southeast Ward, said it all comes down to what zip code you live in. “The bottom line is it’s the zip code. We know it, let’s get right down to it, it’s the zip code,” Malone said while speaking during the meeting. 

“If it was on another side of town, if they saw it, it would be gone. Nobody wants to talk about it, but race is always a factor. The fact is it takes so long because of the people who are living in this community … It’s not going to get done like it would on Country Club or somewhere in that area.” 

When discussing solutions, it was suggested that they create a slideshow with pictures of the graffiti to present to members of city council. 

Detective Quansella Woodley with the Winston-Salem Police Department (WSPD), told those in attendance to keep calling and reporting vandalism when they see it in their neighborhoods. Woodley also suggested installing cameras and offered to personally conduct security surveys in neighborhoods where graffiti is most prevalent.

“I would suggest calling every time,” Woodley said. “Report it every time, drive us crazy with the reports because we’re not going to know to check the sign every time, but drive us crazy with reports, call our non-emergency number and let us know.” 

The non-emergency number to report non-violent crimes such as graffiti or vandalism is 336-773-7700.

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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