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Girl Scouts tackle vandalism Allison K. Sampite | Sat, Apr 16 2011 12:00 PM

Last Saturday, East H Street received its first spring cleaning.

Thanks to a Chula Vista-based group called Graffiti Busters, members of the community will begin seeing improvements to the neighborhood.

Armed with a wagon full of supplies, Girl Scouts from three local troops cleaned their way along East H Street, picking up trash and removing tags made by gangs as well as stickers and other markings using graffiti wipes, spray paint, scrapers, brushes and rags.

The two-hour event earned the girls two hours of community service.

Janet Castro, a mother of two Girl Scouts - Abby, 11 and Alex, 9, has been the girl's troop leader for the past two years. "The main thing we do is expose the girls to things they otherwise wouldn't be exposed to," Janet said. "It gives them a chance to explore."

City officials say that graffiti has become a major problem in Chula Vista now that the city can no longer afford to keep up with its eradication, they have asked the community to help out.

Ten-year-old Bella Rios said that trash is "bad" because it doesn't decompose. "It just sits in land fills and piles up really high," she said. "It's also bad because a lot of animals might think it's food and they could get sick from eating the trash."

Graffiti Busters was born when Chula Vista resident Kelly Luna got fed up with seeing public and private property vandalized. She came up with the idea to get volunteers involved and now Graffiti Busters has a partnership with the city of Chula Vista's Buff-A-Block Program, the South Bay Family YMCA's Earth Service Corps and Girl Scout Troop #5063.

The groups include more than 100 teenagers and several Girl Scout troops who go out at least once a week to remove or paint over various graffiti.

Graffiti Busters adopted the block between Paseo del Rey and Paseo Ranchero and H Street to Telegraph Canyon Road.

A couple of years ago city crews routinely cleaned public and private property vandalized by graffiti but in January, the city of Chula Vista eliminated its remaining two-person graffiti cleanup crew in the latest round of budget cuts.

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