City launches pilot program to fight graffiti

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Department of Public Safety Graffiti Abatement unit started cleaning graffiti in the Garfield Park Place Apartments on Saturday.

It’s the first time the unit has started to clean unwanted paint off private property. Crews in a mobile unit will remove graffiti from private property for three more Saturdays. DPS hopes people report graffiti on their property to let them know what areas they need to target.

The Garfield Park Place Apartments are now empty, but have become covered in graffiti in recent months. Vulgar words and images are painted all over the apartments where children from neighboring apartment complexes come to play.

“Realizing that just across the street many young people live and there riding their bikes and they’re seeing this and we can’t allow that to occur in our city,” said DPS Director Troy Riggs.

Riggs and City-County Council Member Jeff Miller say that graffiti invites more serious crime.

“It’s a sign that brings in more violence, more crime, bring in drugs, especially if there’s gang related graffiti that can bring in gangs, because they communicate through graffiti. In and of itself, it is harmless, it’s just ugly. But it’s what it symbolizes. That’s what’s so scary. So demoralizing for neighborhoods,” said Miller.

“We’re going to have a detective assigned to this to hold people accountable for graffiti. Try to track down those that are tagging, those that use your building for a canvas for what they call art. The second part is following gangs, tracking gangs, so we’ll have an investigator assigned to that as well,” said Riggs.

At the end of the month, DPS will assess the problem areas and potential financing for a more permanent program. Miller says he is hoping for a corporate sponsor for the mobile unit. 

“What we’d really like to see is a corporate sponsor that looks at this project and says, ‘I’d like my name on the side of that.’ Because we really want this to be a popular thing, that when the mobile graffiti unit comes in, you’re excited,” said Miller.

If you’re home or neighborhood has been targeted you can call the Mayor’s Action Center at (317) 327-4622 or email the Department of Public Safety at

You can also report a problem by downloading the RequestIndy app. Click here for more information. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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