In every major city, wherever there is an empty wall space, one might find the not-so special artwork of graffiti casting a blight on the surface. While some may think of it as wasted artistic talent, this type of nuisance and eyesore can pose a threat to public safety, or even subject an area to increased vandalism.

So explains Josh Hawes, deputy general manager of Spring Branch Management District. For that reason, the Spring Branch district has contracted with East End Management District’s Graffiti removal crew, headed by Martin Chavez, to eradicate the problem.

As often as needed, Chavez’ team brings a truck into Spring Branch with a variety of 60 colors of paints and special solvents to erase graffiti art and “tags.”

“The team has really made a difference in Spring Branch,” Hawes explains. “Visually, you want to see our area clean of graffiti and we have really benefited from this service in cleaning up our area.”

Much of the graffiti these days is tied to gang activity, so it is more than a beautifying measure; it is in reality a matter of public safety.

“The taggers learn quickly that if they leave graffiti, it goes away quickly, so they stop doing this,” Hawes said. “If we did not have a swift response, they would keep doing it, but they know in our area, it will disappear. It’s no longer is worth their effort.”

Forms are available on the Spring Branch Management District’s website to report graffiti, and reports on past abatement work can also be found there, along with photos.

Ramon Nunez, on the executive management team for Bravo Capital Management, LLC, works in the property management business, so the look of the area and the feeling of safety is crucial to his business.

“We need this service, to prevent gang crime, to prove to the residents and businesses in the area that this is a safe, clean area to own a home or business,” Nunez said.

“I live and work in Spring Branch, so this service is important to me for both reasons,” Nunez continued. “I drive through the area and if I see anything, I take a photo, upload it and by the next day or so it is gone. It is great that they are doing something about this and keeping our area beautiful.”

Chavez, director of operations for East End Management has, been overseeing the graffiti abatement team since it began 20 years ago.

“We do this service for multiple management (or improvement) districts, and for the City of Houston and the City Parks Board by contract, and we perform this service according to the amount of need in each area,” Chavez explained.

He is proud of the work his teams do in matching paint color and in restoring the surface to what it was before the graffiti incident. From brick, to stop signs, to painted surfaces, they try their best to do an exact match by using a “tint” machine to make sure paint colors match.

“It’s important that it looks good after we finish,” Chavez said.

As a business owner, Nunez added that the graffiti abatement work is top quality and the color matching is done with care so that the look of whatever was damaged is completely restored.

“The team gets it done with their efficient system, and it gets done quickly,” Nunez added.

By Arlene Nisson Lassin