ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – An act of creative vandalism has caught some pedestrians and drivers off guard after two city crosswalk signals were painted over to give passersby the bird. 

“You’ve got to find the humor in these things, I guess some people could call it graffiti in these things, but it is what it is,” said one neighborhood resident. While some find the altered signal at Sixth Street and Mountain comical, others who live in the neighborhood said the act of vandalism sends the wrong message to the community. “I guess a lot of kids will be walking out or parents will be walking out with their kids covering their eyes or they’ll have some explaining to do,” said a nearby resident.

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With schools and a community center nearby, one parent said the pedestrian signal is used by many students, saying it’s not something she wants her children to see. “Oh no, that is horrible. That, that is not okay at all. Kids are going to be like mom. What is going on? What is that and they are young, they don’t need to know,” said the parent.

In addition to the signal at Sixth Street and Mountain, another pedestrian crosswalk signal was also vandalized. A recent 311 report made to the city shows a walk, don’t walk signal at Coal and Fourth Street also painted over. ”Be more respectful, it’s inappropriate, you don’t need to act like that. It’s childish and immature, grow up,” said the parent.

The City of Albuquerque says the act of vandalism to crosswalk signals is uncommon; the Solid waste department says its Graffiti Abatement budget for FY23 is $1.57M. A spokesperson for the department says crews are sent out seven days a week for graffiti cleanup.