Graffiti: It’s back and worse than ever in Asheville


I’m hearing more and more business owners complaining about a new graffiti across Asheville. It’s worse than ever, and folks are starting to complain – and seek solutions.

The Asheville Downtown Association has had some conversations around the issue, and so has the West Asheville Business Association. The issue was also brought up at this weekend’s Asheville City Council retreat.

This all reminds me of the effort city officials put into cracking down on graffiti back in 2007. The Asheville Police Department created a special unit to tackle the problem, which police officials said at the time was connected to increased gang activity. Police actually made several arrests and highlighted those arrests.

Several nonprofits pitched in the paint over the ugly tags, and business owners were also asked to act quickly to remove new graffiti.



sf March 4, 2014 - 7:46 am

Very simple lock up the spay paint and when they have to buy it the store has to see the Driver license. It worked in California.

Z March 3, 2014 - 9:26 pm

I was at the Bleachery WalMart a few days ago and was checking out behind a young couple dressed in black buying a dozen cans of spray paint.
What the business owners who are being vandalized need to do is pool together a monetary reward for the arrest of these assholes who vandalize the neighborhood. I would totally donate to the cause. You hear a lot of hot air coming out of West AVL Facebook groups who bitch & moan about graffiti but offer no solutions or aggressive stance on the subject besides whining about it or thinking it is a problem the police need to solve. It’s your fucking community, get out there and create a real neighborhood watch or patrols or something! If my hotel was being fucked up, you’d see extra security on property just waiting to kick some ass. I can hear the west AVL bitching all the way downtown!!

Frank March 3, 2014 - 10:07 pm

Did you seriously just endorse creating a monetary incentive to arrest these people in one breath, then denigrate the West Asheville FB people for saying this is “a problem the police need to solve” with your next breath?

Tim February 17, 2014 - 8:44 am

It is pretty bad on Banks Ave. We have to paint over it often. They even tagged our dumpster.

What I want to know is, who are Connie and Shrimply?

Sleepless Aquarius August 10, 2015 - 4:00 am

Thanx for providing a street name. I will go there to photograph next time! 🙂

Bear on Unicycle February 11, 2014 - 12:55 pm

W. Avl does have a problem with graffiti. Before the holidays I observed someone in the act of tagging the back of the taxi stand facing Waynesville Ave. I reported it to a policeman a few min later and gave him a description of the person. Not sure what was done but I will bet nothing.

Zach February 11, 2014 - 10:35 am

Time to start a vigilante movement. Working on a costume and name.

Kelly February 10, 2014 - 2:16 pm

Does anyone know the significance of the graffiti pictured? I have seen it many places recently. Even a box truck…

Sean February 9, 2014 - 6:55 pm

I am constantly surprised that Asheville hasn’t invested in anti-graffiti coating ( The City Council was discussing the use of surveillance cameras at their retreat this weekend, but they haven’t looked into this much simpler solution?!

Fred Mertz February 10, 2014 - 10:02 pm

I looked into the anti-graffiti coatings and paints for a building I own. I was so close to using it until I thought about repainting in the future. You can’t without sandblasting. Not as simple as it seems.

doghaus28815 February 9, 2014 - 5:47 pm

awww Jesus-Christ-on-bicycle! It amazes me that asheville/buncombe county can catch a dui at a “road=block” but these taggers can spend hours, maybe, doing their thing right in front of tunnel road, patton ave, and downtown! law enforcement my ass!!

Sean February 10, 2014 - 6:33 am

If only police officers used their powers of omniscience to catch these vandals. I mean, teenagers and young adults are all very stupid, right? Since apparently only the police and not the public can see these crimes in progress (your words: “doing their thing right in front of tunnel road, patton ave, and downtown!” I guess the general public can’t see things “right in front”) it should be a no-brainer.

In all seriousness, Jason, the answer here is increased penalties for property crime. Most of these fools are known to law enforcement, but structured sentencing for vandalism crimes are so lax, there is ZERO long-term punishment for offenders. Then there is the whole issue of people even thinking to question whether it is art. If you don’t own it, or have permission from who owns it, it’s vandalism. Period.

arts lover February 9, 2014 - 3:21 pm

Where do Asheville street artists/muralists stand on this? Is this art? Vandalism? Something else?

Karl Marx February 9, 2014 - 3:31 pm

It is art.

For it to be vandalism there must be “property rights”, which is an invention of the capitalist-imperialist lackeys.

Jason W. February 10, 2014 - 3:50 pm

Tagging is not art.

ArtsyFartsy February 10, 2014 - 4:41 pm

Tagging is essentially the same thing as dogs pissing on trees – it just marks territory & stupidity.

Graffiti is something else entirely, and while graffiti can be considered street art, muralists & street-artists don’t often cast themselves into the same pool as people who spray paint excellent lettering techniques.

Fred Mertz February 10, 2014 - 10:09 pm

Tagging-Graffiti. If it is not your building or you have permission you may get tagged or graffiti-ed in the back of the head with a paintball gun. I would call that art.

Jared Rutledge February 10, 2014 - 4:18 pm

Besides the fact that most of the tags don’t exhibit a lot of talent, I think the original purpose of tagging was to deface PUBLIC property – things owned by the government. Take them back for the people, so to speak. Not private businesses.

JML February 9, 2014 - 6:46 pm

The crap pictured in the photo is vandalism, no creativity or art involved. Very different from mural art

Harry February 10, 2014 - 2:21 pm

Seriously? If it’s not on your own property, it’s vandalism!

NFB February 9, 2014 - 2:49 pm

Does anybody know what the deal is with the old abandoned BP station on Charlotte St? It has been very heavily tagged for a couple of YEARS. Back in November there were two people doing some cleaning but they stopped after two days and it remains a major eyesore.

PBnJ February 10, 2014 - 7:31 am

that place needs to go

NFB February 10, 2014 - 12:57 pm

It does. Why has it been allowed to remain such an eyesore for so long and why was a very brief effort to clean it up in November abandoned?

ArtsyFartsy February 10, 2014 - 4:44 pm

Last I heard (on this blog I believe) the owners are asking too much money for the location and so they are just letting it go to rot until Charlotte St. turns into Merrimon Ave part 2 and someone pays them the crazy amounts of money they are asking for the lot.

NFB February 10, 2014 - 6:31 pm

I can’t find any indication that it is even listed for sale.

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