FRANKLIN, Tenn. - Investigators in Franklin said there's been a major increase in the amount of gang graffiti.
Officials said it's never been done in Franklin before but police are offering a reward this holiday season to anyone who helps detectives catch the culprits.
Though Melba Tomlin loves the decorations on her front door, she's not as thrilled with the ones outside her back door. She said the graffiti is ugly.
Over the past couple of weeks there's been a surge of gang graffiti in Franklin.
"It's ignorant. You really can't make it out, but it looks nasty," said Natalie Demonbreun, another Franklin resident.
Several incidents have happened in an area off of Liberty Pike in Franklin. Gang-related graffiti appears on both private and public property.
Callers could receive $1,000 if their tip leads to the arrest of the gang-graffiti suspects before the end of the year.
"It's almost like a newspaper between gangs," said Franklin detective Darren Barnes. "It specifies the location. It may specify the activities of the gang."
Investigators believe understanding graffiti can help solve crimes and even prevent the violence the images often describe.
"Basically all they're doing is paying respect to someone who was killed that a part of the gang," Barnes said.
"Gang violence is an avoidable, but a very real thing," said Franklin Sgt. Charles Warner. "And it starts with things as small as this."
With neighbors sick of paying for costly repairs and unsightly graffiti on the rise, police have offered $1,000 reward to anyone who helps them catch the vandals.
Detectives said there were eight new reports of gang graffiti over the weekend. Investigators suspect the acts are being committed by teenagers who simply don't think they have anything better to do with time.
To fight the problem, the police department currently has a full-time investigator assigned to the FBI's Violent Crime and Gang Task Force.