Chandler's sole graffiti fighter attacks never-ending problem

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Sal Rodriguez enters location information, (Source: City of Chandler) Sal Rodriguez enters location information, (Source: City of Chandler)
Rodriguez prepares a paint sprayer. (Source: City of Chandler) Rodriguez prepares a paint sprayer. (Source: City of Chandler)
Rodriguez paints over graffiti in a Chandler. (Source: City of Chandler) Rodriguez paints over graffiti in a Chandler. (Source: City of Chandler)
CHANDLER, AZ (CBS5) -

Almost 1,800 incidents of graffiti were reported in Chandler last fiscal year and the task of cleaning it all up falls to one man.

"I love Chandler and I hate graffiti," said Sal Rodriguez, the city's official "graffiti abatement technician."

He alone is charged with the job of painting over unsightly markings left by taggers, vandals and street gangs.

"If you love what you're doing, you'll have the motivation to do it well and make it look right," he said.

Roughly two-thirds of the cases reported are initiated by city staff. It falls to Rodriguez to respond to each incident.

Rodriguez said he has a message for those who deface public and private property with their graffiti.]

"I have more paint than you do! You're not going to wear me down," he said.

Before painting over graffiti, he uses a city app called Public Stuff to enter information and photograph the markings. The information is shared with police, who closely monitor graffiti activity.

The app is the same one available to residents wanting to submit requests to the city regarding issues that need fixing, such as potholes, graffiti, broken streetlights, downed trees and water leaks.

The app is available for the iPhone, Android and BlackBerry and allows users to choose an option to receive updates on the status of their request.

More information is available at http:///www.chandleraz/mobileapps. Graffiti can also be reported to the Graffiti Hotline, 480-782-4322.

"People appreciate what we're doing," Rodriguez said. "They sometimes come up and thank me or give me a thumbs up when driving by. It feels good to know I'm making a difference."

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