Auburn homes, businesses hit with rash of graffiti vandalism

AUBURN, Wash. -- The City of Auburn is in the middle of a nasty graffiti war, and anyone who's walked around town lately can see the vandals may be winning.

Crews are working hard to paint over the spray-painted tags that have recently popped up in Auburn.

"It's just some young people out there having some kind of what they consider to be fun, (but) it's vandalism to us," said Mayor Pete Lewis.

The city has recorded 75 separate tagging incidents over the past two weeks. It takes time and money to clean all that up, and a lot of people are getting tired of it.

Business owner Richard White is one of them.

"It doesn't feel comfortable, it doesn't look good and it doesn't feel safe," he said.

White recently moved his tattoo shop to a new building that has been tagged many times.

"They've gotten our old building, they've gotten my house, they gotten my neighbors houses," he said.

People pay Artists at Action Tattoo for a splash of color on their bodies, but nobody in the neighborhood is asking for paint on their property.

Police Chief Bob Lee said the latest round of taggings is not gang related and probably the work of kids.

"It makes people feel unsafe in the community when they see things happening they can't control," Lee said. "It's our job to try to get out there and put a stop to it."

He said citizens have to step up and help stop the crime.

"If you know it's going on you have to report it," he said. "If you see something, you have to say something. You can't just close your door and turn your lights out."

Lewis said his city will answer paint with paint.

"No matter how many times they put it out there, we'll clean it off," he said. "And we'll clean it off until they stop putting it up."

While the city will clean up graffiti on public property, private property owners are responsible for their own cleanup.