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INDIANAPOLIS (April 30, 2014) — Police are investigating after a man was held up at gunpoint while working outside a local business on the east side.

The victim’s friend tells Fox 59 he was trying to paint over graffiti at the former bar on the 200 block of State Avenue Monday morning.

“He was told that was their area and he needed to get out of there,” said Johnny Patrick, who lives nearby. “I think it’s kind of insane. We live in a society where we have to watch our back at every turn.”

The graffiti problem has no signs of stopping in the neighborhood. If it’s not on vacant homes, these spray-painted signs are even spotted on the sidewalks.

“It’s trash cans, houses, cars, anywhere on the streets,” said Stacy Jingles, a neighbor. “I can’t say it’s just the gang members because sometimes it’s just young kids who are running around here.”

The city of Indianapolis began cracking down on the vandalism issue on April 1. Under the ordinance, property owners have up to 30 days to clean up the graffiti after it’s been reported, or face a $50 fine.

Patrick said his friend was only trying to do his part to clean up the community.

Neighbors believe the graffiti problem only highlights a bigger problem in our city — teens getting involved in gangs.

“They don’t mess with us because we know them,” she said. “Some of the kids, I love them, but I just don’t understand what they’re seeking.”

Jingles’ family and church volunteers have adopted a block through Keep Indianapolis Beautiful to clean up the area.

KIB will be distributing free paint supplies on May 2 from 11 a.m. to 1 Lowes Home Improvement on 8801 E. 25th St. If you want to register, click here.