Cleveland graffiti problems growing; volunteers paint over the vandalism

Builidng Better Neighborhoods volunteers help

CLEVELAND - Volunteer experts with HandsOn Northeast Ohio report the amount graffiti painted on local businesses and homes is growing.

Executive Director Jeff Griffiths told NewsChannel5 his agency is committed to making a difference.

HandsOn Northeast Ohio played a key role in organizing a team of volunteers to help clean up graffiti in Cleveland's Slavic Village neighborhood, as part of NewsChannel5's Building Better Neighborhoods initiative.

Volunteers from NewsChannel5 joined volunteers from Slavic Village Development to paint over graffiti that has marred the neighborhood over the past year.

"Residents can get together, organize a block club and make a difference in their neighborhoods," said Griffiths. "We hope to be that pathway for people to easily get involved, while building capacity for non-profit, schools, municipal entities, and block clubs and individuals. These are people in the trenches doing the hard work every single day."

Using spray paint, paint or markers to deface public property is a crime and can lead to jail time. Graffiti can hurt the appearance of neighborhoods and sometimes can be gang related, making residents feel unsafe.

Volunteers spent hours hours removing graffiti in more than a dozen locations before stopping for lunch provided by Chipotle.

HandsOn Northeast Ohio is the official Cuyahoga County Volunteer Action Center for Northeast Ohio. It provides an opportunity for individuals, youth, families and businesses to improve their community through service that addresses some of the region's most pressing needs.

Those interested in volunteering in their neighborhoods can find all the information they need on the NewsChannel5 Building Better Neighborhoods web page.

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