Conference Seeks to Combat Graffiti
Stop Urban Blight, a nonprofit that works to eliminate graffiti and reduce the money cities, businesses and citizens spend on the problem, has invited “graffiti fighters” from around the world to meet in Phoenix later this month.
From April 23-25, the Zero Graffiti International conference will bring together people ranging from police and public works directors to volunteers and program leaders to discuss and share information about ending graffiti vandalism.
“Our organization is about education – not telling people what to do,” said Drew Lindner, Stop Urban Blight chairman. “We facilitate and put together events so people can share ideas about what’s working and not working.”
According to Lindner, more than $22 billion was spent last year in the United States to deal with graffiti.
In the South Mountain area, a major problem spot is along Baseline Road between 35th and 51st avenues. During the last year, Graffiti Tracker statistics show the area saw 166 graffiti clean-ups.
Detective Michael Kaddatz , a member of the Phoenix Police Department’s graffiti unit, says high schools on Baseline Road play a factor, adding that “tagging” is more prevalent than gang graffiti.
He urges residents to report all graffiti to the Phoenix Police Department, in addition to Graffiti Busters.
“Just reporting it to Graffiti Busters only gets the graffiti cleaned up,” he stressed. “When you make a report (to the Phoenix Police Department), it lets detectives know what’s going on in their areas of responsibility so they can take appropriate actions.”
As co-host, City of Phoenix staff will have a major presence at the Zero Graffiti International conference. In addition to Kaddatz, William Hogans from the Neighborhood Services Department, Detective Chuck Miller and Detective Sam Palmer will present during the three-day event.
Forty cities worldwide will be represented, including from as far away as Melbourne, Australia, and London, England.
The Zero Graffiti International conference will be held at the Sheraton Crescent Hotel, 2620 W. Dunlap Ave., in Phoenix. Registration at www.zerograffiti.org is available until April 23.
The fee to attend all three days is $295. Single-day tickets start at $75 (for Day 3). The vendor area is open for free to anyone during the entire event.