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D.C. Reports More Graffiti

WASHINGTON, July 31 (UPI) — The Department of Public Works has reported a significant increase in graffiti in Washington this year, but officials are not sure of the cause.

Since the beginning of 2011, the DPW has removed 3,946 instances of graffiti, more than double the 1,780 tags removed in 2010, The Washington Post reported Friday.

While other big cities are reporting decreases in instances of graffiti, D.C. officials say the city will likely spend $450,000 on graffiti removal this year, compared with $200,000 in 2010.

Graffiti is on the rise throughout the city, DPW director William O. Howland Jr. says. The majority of the tags don’t seem to be gang-related.

“We know there’s a cycle: that when there’s warm weather, there’s more activity,” said DPW spokeswoman Nancee Lyons. “But [for] people who do this sort of thing, it’s an act of impulse, so there’s not necessarily any rhyme or reason.”

The city-sponsored program MuralsDC has deterred graffiti by giving taggers and others a place to be creative in popular tagging spots.

“MuralsDC is a great first step,” said Mazi Mutafa, director of the non-profit Words Beats & Life. “Before this program, there was no choice for taggers. It was illegal. Now they have options. Now they have a place to create.”

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