More graffiti, fewer volunteers and less paint

YAKIMA, Wash. -- "Is the graffiti problem getting worse?" KIMA asked.

"You know, I don't see it getting any better," said Archie Matthews.

Fewer volunteers, less paint and more areas getting tagged. Venecia Delafuente was frustrated by the graffiti in her neighborhood.

"I walk this neighborhood quite a bit and that's all I see is empty houses, one right here on the corner that's always been painted over," said Venecia. "It's just sad."

Here's why Venecia was sad. Yakima responded to paint twice as many spots hit with graffiti last year.
That's almost 5,500 locations. Archie Matthews is Yakima's Office and Neighborhood Services manager. He's able to give people paint they need to cover up the damage.

"Every time I can get a property owner to paint their own graffiti, I get two for one because now I got him painting his graffiti and that frees up my guy to take care of another graffiti," said Archie.

Yakima wants to enlist more volunteers because the money isn't there to pay for clean up. The graffiti budget dropped more than 17 percent the last two years. Yakima spent $83,000 on paint removal in 2012.

Even though the graffiti in this neighborhood just got painted over, neighbors said they wouldn't be surprised to see graffiti on there the very next day.

"Whoever is doing this is getting away with it," said Venecia. "It's at night time. They're creeping around. I don't feel safe in this neighborhood."

Yakima's graffiti budget projected to drop another five percent in 2013. The city plans to hire a worker in March to help tackle the problem so people like Venecia won't be as frustrated.