Teens Target Graffiti

We often hear about teenagers getting in trouble with the law but some metro kids are fighting back. They're reclaiming neighborhoods, one wall at a time.

Omaha's graffiti van is getting some help these days. Members of the South Omaha Boys and Girls Club want the graffiti out of their neighborhood so they're picking up paint brushes and going to work, "painting over the graffiti because I want to live in a safe neighborhood where it looks nice. So it don't look all messed up," said Rosaura Rodriguez.

Rafael Lopez says, "The whole gang tagging thing, I don't like that. But if it's like a drawing about something like over there at 24th Street, like a mural, it's okay because it's like the neighborhood."

Organizers say the graffiti is a sign of gang activity and troubled youth. The Boys and Girls Club members cleaning it up are a clear signal there are lots of good teens as well.

Club President Paco Fuentes says, "I'm very proud of them. They're such great kids and they're putting their money where their mouth is. They said they wanted to do something about the vandalism problem in the community."

Property owner Tony Gurciullo says he's proud of the effort these young people are showing.

He says, "If they had this when I was a kid it's what I'd be doing. But I think what they're doing is commendable."

This isn't a one-time effort. The kids say they'll be back as often as needed.

Club member Noel Ramos says, "I'd like to see it clean so people wouldn't have to worry about all this gang graffiti going on."

Paco Fuentes adds, "We'll be out here as many times as it takes to help keep this community beautiful."

The six teens hope their numbers increase and the graffiti goes away.

Teens Against Graffiti, or TAG, is also working with a mural artist. Research shows brush-painted murals are less likely to be defaced by graffiti.

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