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A Beautiful Crime? Graffiti Covers Detroit's Eastern Market

DETROIT (WWJ) - Beauty is in the eye of the beholder -- but some merchants at Detroit's Eastern Market say the graffiti there is becoming an eyesore.

Dan McCarthy is among the growing number of business owners concerned about the graffiti problem in the market. McCarthy, who owns Cost Plus Wine Shop, said business owners get ticketed if they don't remove the graffiti in a timely manner.

"Luckily, we have a mural on the side of our building and I guess there's some sort of tagger rule that you don't do any tagging over someone else's artwork," he said. "But, I mean, the whole market is being tagged every other day. You take it down and two days later it's back up."

Eastern Market Graffiti (2)
Graffiti in Detroit's Eastern Market. (Credit: Vickie Thomas/WWJ Newsradio 950)

McCarthy told WWJ's Vickie Thomas that the market is also sending mixed messages, by bringing in artists to tag some building while it's illegal to tag others.

"If you're going to have artists come in and they're allowed to put murals on the walls than why aren't the taggers allowed to? It's mixed messages and different standards and you can't have that. It's either all or none and they should go after these taggers. A lot of them are teenagers, we've caught them out here and nothing is being done to them," he said.

McCarthy said he would like to see stiffer penalties for those who illegally tag buildings. But some people said they don't mind seeing the graffiti.

"I think the kids are getting better at it because the artwork is getting a lot better," one man said.

"I like the graffiti art, I mean, we know it will stay there because if you paint something new or something they're going to put the graffiti on it anyway," one woman said.

"As long as it's not vulgar, because the kids are going to see it, I think it's fine. Some of them are really good, so I like seeing that creativity," another woman said.

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