Chicago spends $9 million a year to battle spray paint-wielding artists and taggers through its “Graffiti-Blaster” program, but a the specialized Streets and Sanitation outfit is having trouble keeping up with demand, according to the Sun-Times.
Officials say it’s not for lack of trying.
But the casual observer can see that there are more tags than ever near the corner of Milwaukee and Western avenues.
"Some years and months, there are more, and some less," Smith says. "It fluctuates. Graffiti is also impacted by the weather. I'm not sure it can be analyzed beyond all of these issues."
Critics say the program is flagging because the city’s budget deficit has forced it to allocate resources elsewhere.
Like others in the neighborhood, South, who installed cameras near her shop, is fighting taggers on their own.
"We've had to clean up a lot. Once we put up cameras, people stopped writing on our windows," she said.
Whether its more taggers or fewer blasters the result is a lot more non-sanctioned art work along the walls of Wicker Park.