City leaders plan to catch downtown vandals -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

City leaders plan to catch downtown vandals

April 10, 2007

Albany--  Vandals are leaving ugly and sometimes obscene graffiti downtown. Downtown leaders want to take action to make sure it doesn't continue.

Business owner Darron Price feels his downtown location is priceless. "I'm loving it. I couldn't ask for a better location," said Price.

A location he's been in for more than two years cutting and styling hair. But as Price changes human appearance, he's also noticed some change to structure.

"I have noticed the graffiti in the stairwell a lot lately," said Price. The parking deck stairwell right next to his business is lined with illegal artwork. More recently, some came even closer.

"One of the windows right outside of my building was sprayed," said Price.

Near the bottom of the deck, you get a hint of the vandalism but the higher you go and the more steps you take, it gets more colorful. One word in particular greets you near the top--Hate.

"It looks so bad," said downtown merchant Phil Cannon.

Cannon hates the thought of vandals using the parking deck as an easel. "We've worked hard in the last five years to clean up downtown, to make it secure," said Cannon. Cannon says it sets a bad tone for people visiting the downtown area and he has a strong feeling as to who's setting it.

"Personally I believe it's just a group of teenagers trying to get some attention," said Cannon. He says on weekends and some week nights, groups of teens gather in the parking lot and decks hanging out and skateboarding.  He wants to send a message to whoever the vandals are.

"The kids that are doing it, your mom is not going to let you paint on your bedroom wall. You don't need to go downtown. You don't need to go to any community and paint on the wall," said Cannon.

"My concern is for the safety of the kids at night, especially," said Price.

Price doesn't want what's been fairly contained so far to escalate. "It's always a fear that things escalate into big problems. I think if the city takes control of it now, it'll probably alleviate itself," said Price.

He hopes for the better and will continue to cut hair in his perfect location but wants a permanent cut to vandalism.

Judy Bowles with Keep Albany-Dougherty Beautiful along with City Commissioner Jon Howard and APD went and viewed the stairwell Tuesday morning. They plan to paint over the graffiti soon and put steps in place to catch whoever's leaving it.

Phil Cannon says right now there is no cop assigned to the downtown beat but police tell him they plan to assign one to patrol the area at night. Cannon also suggested ADICA hire a security guard part time to watch over the area.



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