by Ramonica R. Jones
Bright red graffiti is covering walls and doors in an alley in downtown Lufkin. Four-letter words, gang symbols, and other illegible writing can be clearly seen in several areas. Before the graffiti showed up, a window was also broken out in one of the businesses on South First Street.
Main Street Director Barbara Thompson said, "We worked so hard to get downtown beautiful and vibrant, and doing something like this - putting graffiti on our buildings - is just unacceptable."
The city has spent millions of dollars widening streets, improving lighting, and bringing new companies downtown. None of those businesses have been directly hit by vandals, but business owners are worried they could be.
Attorney Greg Longino has an alarm for the inside of his law firm just in case of a break in, but there's no protection for the outside of his building.
"It makes us sad," said Longino. "We hate to see it. We really hadn't had much vandalism in the past, but it seems that we've had a little bit, maybe, in the last week or so. We're not too happy about it."
Authorities don't know who's vandalizing downtown Lufkin, but city officials plan to prosecute to the fullest extent of the law.
Since the graffiti is spray painted on privately-owned buildings downtown, the business owners are responsible for cleaning it up. City officials said they are considering adding cameras and more lighting downtown for security purposes.
The construction project cost the city more than six million dollars.