PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Hundreds of upscale apartments and condos are rising in the east end, along with hip new businesses. But right around the corner, graffiti artists are scarring neighborhoods.
Pittsburgh police see it as an attack on gentrification.
“They target that area because they’re kind of rebelling against these neighborhoods, because they’re trying to bring those neighborhoods up. Property values going up,” Graffiti Unit Detective Braden Seese said.
At Penn Avenue Fish in the Strip District, they’re serving up fresh seafood to the lunchtime crowd. But before getting into the place, customers are met with an unsightly display outside. The nearby Marco bar has been hit along with many others.
Penn Avenue Fish owner Henry Dewey has all but given up.
“Pretty helpless. You can’t do anything about it. If you paint over it with some nice, fresh white paint they’ll just come and tag it once again,” he said.
But the Pittsburgh Police Graffiti Unit is going after these vandals. Two full time detectives are tracking all the graffiti in the city with a database. Last year alone, they arrested 10 graffiti artists who caused a $500,000 in damage.
“It hurts the property value. Demoralizes the neighborhood. Gives the appearance of other crimes that may be occurring. Kind of gives the appearance of gangs in the neighborhood which typically there is not,” Graffiti Unit Detective Alphonso Sloan said.