Taking Back Our Streets: Taggers targeting some downtown Shreveport buildings

Taking Back Our Streets: Taggers targeting some downtown Shreveport buildings
Michael Moredock is accused of tagging this building at Barton Drive Apartments in Shreveport. This is the second time he has been arrested over graffiti on property.

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Some of Shreveport’s most beautiful historic buildings are downtown.

Unfortunately, they are falling victim to people who spray paint graffiti on them.

Just last week, Shreveport police arrested 43-year-old Michael Moredock on a charge of simple criminal damage to property.

He’s accused of spray painting Barton Drive Manor apartments.

Police say he actually was out on bond from an arrest in April, when he was accused of spray painting SporTran buses.

The amount of damage costs thousands of dollars to cover up graffiti.

The old Shreveport Municipal Building once was home to the Chamber of Commerce. The building itself is beautiful and has a unique architecture over 100 years old. It’s on the Historic Registry.

Someone is ruining these downtown buildings with spray paint, said Liz Swaine, executive director of the Downtown Development Authority.

“It changes it forever. When you are having to power wash, it is problematic for some of these buildings and it leaves behind far more damage.”

It’s a race against the clock to clean up the mess. The downtown Shreveport Development Corp. is funding the project.

Shreveport crews work to paint over graffiti on the side of the Stagehands building.
Shreveport crews work to paint over graffiti on the side of the Stagehands building.

Swaine calls it the broken window pane theory. If a broken window is not fixed, it leads to more people breaking windows, she explained.

Swaine said it is the same context with graffiti. Thinking no one cares, graffiti not covered up and left exposed invites more taggers to spray paint.

But people like Swaine do care. She says when new tags go up, she takes pictures and sends them to Shreveport police.

Authorities don’t think any of the tags are gang-related. Instead, they believe taggers are trying to make a name for themselves.

Swaine says police have even caught taggers in the act. She also says there are downtown cameras that might catch a tagger destroying property.

There is one place where the business owner actually allows artists to create.

Outside David Nelson’s business in the 800 block of Texas Street are blackboards he’s painted; and artists have started displaying their art.

He says there are just a few rules. One is do not paint or ruin the brick.

Depending on the amount of damage to property, you can be charged with a felony if convicted of destroying someone’s property with graffiti.

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