Indy graffiti removal program goes beyond beautifying neighborhoods

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – A program aimed at removing graffiti is doing more than beautifying neighborhoods.

Spraying homes is nothing new for Raheem Murray. “It’s similar to a dog pissing on a tree,” Murray said. “I mean, you’re leaving your mark to let people know: this where I’m at; this represents me, basically.”

In the past, the Indianapolis man said he hit his share of sites with paint. “Growing up in east New York, I mean, you’re going to have a spray can in your bottle from time-to-time,” Murray said.

It’s a pattern that ultimately put him behind bars. On Thursday, he found himself on the other end.

RecycleForce re-entrants stand with 24 Hour New 8's Nick Natario as they tackle graffiti across Indianapolis. (WISH Photo/Nick Natario)
RecycleForce re-entrants stand with 24 Hour New 8’s Nick Natario as they tackle graffiti across Indianapolis. (WISH Photo/Nick Natario)

Murray is part of the Recycle Force re-entrant program, a team that works with the graffiti abatement unit to remove paint across Indianapolis.

During its first year, the group removed 15,630 square feet of graffiti from 214 sites.

Murray will tackle some of it this year. Before he got dirty, he took part in the organization’s kick-off news conference Thursday.

Instead of handcuffs, he found himself standing next to IMPD Chief Troy Riggs, ready to help. “Definitely feels like an out-of-body experience, surreal to say the least though,” Murray said. “I never thought I’d be standing next to him, especially in this type of situation.”

Now, using a different spray, he’ll continue to change his own situation while helping to beautify others.

“Definitely feels good to have the home jersey instead of the away jersey on, man. Yeah, it definitely feels good,” Murray said.

Homeowners who are cited for graffiti have 30 days to remove it or they’ll face a $50 fine. If you need help, call the Mayor’s Action Center at 317-327-4MAC or tweet using the hashtag #TakeOFFensetograffiti to add it to the list.

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