Back in February, the Grand Rapids Police Department (GRPD) and the city announced that they are going to start aggressively pursuing graffiti artists by using a variety of methods including increased patrols in so-called “problem” areas, faster clean-up of graffiti, and possibly even ordinances that would restrict the sale of spray paint to those under 18. While fairly little has been reported publicly about the success of the crackdown since it kicked off in February with the arrest of five artists, police have recently arrested two artists who have reportedly admitted responsibility for over 100 incidents. In addition, the Streets and Sanitation Department has been painting over the graffiti that built up over the winter months, using two city crews as well as community service crews from the 61st District Court to clean the graffiti.
While it is nearly impossible to tell if it is the result of the police crackdown or just the cold weather of March and April, there has been noticeably less graffiti around the city and what has been painted has been covered up quickly by the city. A recent update to the Grand Rapids Graffiti and Street Art web site featured relatively little new art as well, generally confirming the idea that graffiti has decreased in frequency.