Curtis Payne was one of the 65 volunteers helping to clean up the community.
SPRINGFIELD, Tenn.- Graffiti can be found on homes and businesses throughout Springfield. Police say some of it is evidence of gang activity. Now, dozens of volunteers in Robertson County are rolling up their sleeves to send a message.
Saturday, Curtis Payne was one of about 65 volunteers hoping a little muscle could help scrub out the problems.
"It is a great concern with the so-called gang violence," Payne explained.
"It's not really in your line of sight," Jordan Osborne, Vice President of Operations with the Chamber of Commerce added about the graffiti. "You have to look for it to find it."
For now, the graffiti is isolated to a small area. The concern is what's often dismissed as child's play, could eventually spread.
"We have active gang members in this area that are identifying themselves apart from the rest of the community by this," Springfield Police Sgt. Jason Head said. "This is one of the ways they express themselves."
"Shocked," Osborne said. "I was. I was really surprised."
This is a small community after all, but police say gangs operate much differently than how some may think.
"When people think of gangs, they're thinking of turf wars and things like that," Head explained. "But it's a business. A lot of times they get together and form organizations, and it's a way to make money."
While the graffiti is a way of sending a message, volunteers have one of their own.
"What we're trying to send (a message) for the people who do the graffiti, is that our organized efforts are greater than yours," Osborne added.
But the strongest message of all is that the community cares.
"People see that you are concerned," Payne said. "And when you see people concerned, maybe we can help some young people to lead them into a different direction."
Payne said he came out on Saturday morning because Springfield is his home.
"We can overcome it and move forward. That's why I'm here," he said.
The Chamber of Commerce organized Saturday's event and reached out to its members to provide supplies at little or no cost. They hope continuing those partnerships will help combat the problem long term.
The Chamber is also forming a task force to address future problems, and they are urging residents to report if they see graffiti to the county or police.