Northside business owners fed up with graffiti want changes

NORTHSIDE, OH (FOX19) - Business owners in Cincinnati's Northside neighborhood are fed up with tagging and graffiti.

They are joining forces to try to combat the problem.

Jake Davis owns a building on Spring Grove Avenue he rents out to a business.

He said that his property has been targeted twice in recent days.

"It pisses you off. It really does. It makes you upset," he said.

Graffiti pops up almost daily on both public and private property throughout the neighborhood.

"You come to work, you'll see a new place very day. Every morning, you'll see something new," Davis said. "Overpasses, the telephone poles, the neighbors', old buildings. It's old. It's getting old. It's time to bring it to an end."

Davis says his property has been tagged dozens of times over the years. He said other buildings nearby, including ones that are more than a hundred years old, have also been hit by vandals.

"There's a lack of respect to the integrity of the building and the historical value of the building," Davis said.
"It's tacky. It's ugly. Express yourself. Go for it, but do it where it's legit - do it where it's not a nuisance."

Community leaders like James Heller-Jackson said that it is spilling into numerous communities. He said it can cost thousands of dollars to cover it up which can make it difficult for business owners to stay on top of it.

"There can be ladders, chemical to clean it up," Heller-Jackson, a member of the Northside Community Council and a Camp Washington Community Organizer, said. "They're just not typically geared to do it."

Property owners like Davis are using security camera footage in some cases to help police track down those responsible.

Davis said they are also planning to approach city officials to seek more help.

He envisions harsher penalties one day for taggers.

"We're about at our wit's end with it. We don't want it anymore," Davis said.

Davis is encouraging his neighbors to call and report any suspicious activity, vandalism or graffiti to police.

Keep Cincinnati Beautiful works with the city of Cincinnati to help remove some graffiti.

For more information, visit the organization's website or the city's website.

There are a variety of penalties for graffiti in Ohio.

  • Criminal Mischief: $1,000 damage, first degree misdemeanor. Maximum fine: $1,000. Maximum jail time: 6 months.
  • Vandalism: $1,000 damage, fifth degree felony. Fine: $2,500. Jail time: 6-12 months. If the damage is $5,000 to $10,000, fourth degree felony. $5,000 fine, 6-18 months in prison. If the damage is $100,000 or more, it's a third degree felony punishable 1-5 years in prison with a maximum $10,000 fine.

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