Dangerous Graffiti Removal Job Highlights Growing Problem in Des Moines

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DES MOINES, IOWA — Cleaning up graffiti was no simple task Friday morning in downtown Des Moines. The Des Moines Fire Department was needed to provide support as city crews removed graffiti from the University Avenue bridge over the Des Moines River.

The Des Moines Fire Department’s WET team launched two boats in the river to provide security below while a construction lift maneuvered a worker with a power washer to blast away paint. This job was more difficult than most for the city’s Facilities Division, but even the smaller graffiti reports keep them busy year round.

The city estimates it spends $50,000 per year on graffiti removal. Graffiti reports increased 52% year-to-year in 2019. Reports were up another 21% in 2020. The City of Des Moines responded to 494 graffiti reports last year.

To report graffiti, send an email to ReportGraffiti@dmgov.org, call (515) 248-6331 or use the mobile app MyDSMmobile.

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