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      City of Amarillo gets rid of graffiti for free

      The City of Amarillo's "Take Back the Wall" campaign is putting an end to graffiti in the area.

      "About 2 years ago we started the Take Back the Wall program, where we tried to find people that would let us remove their graffiti," said Amarillo Mayor Paul Harpole.

      S ince then, the City of Amarillo has removed graffiti from hundreds of structures thanks to the help of volunteers and city workers and they're not taking the offense lightly.

      "We're serious about this. We look at graffitti as a destruction of property ," said Harpole. " It costs homeowners or businesses owners thousands of dollars. "

      Amarillo Police Department is helping "Take Back the Wall" track down and remove the graffiti.

      "Graffiti is a crime because it's a destruction of property. A lot of people use that term graffiti and they're thinking that it's some sort of art but really it's just defacing other people's property ," APD Sgt. Brent Barbee.

      According to authorities, the sooner home and business owners report the crime, the better it is for the city.

      "If we get it off within 24 to 48 hours tops, then it generally after the 2nd time, it doesn't come back ," said Harpole.

      T exas state law requires the city to remove graffiti at no cost to residents. City officials hope that incentive will encourage Amarillo citizens to help take the nuisance off the streets.

      " There's a lot more graffiti out there. We know it isn't all gone, and so we'd like help finding more places to take back the wall and get rid of this graffiti and keep it cleaned up ," said Harpole.

      For more information on Take Back the Wall, visit www.takebackthewall.amarillo.gov.