ORLANDO, Fla. — More than a dozen college students painted over a graffiti-covered wall as part of an effort to reduce crime.

  • College students paint over graffiti-covered wall near school
  • Students are part of a faith-based volunteer group
  • They hope efforts will spark positive change in community

Eighteen students spent about two hours Wednesday creating a blank slate for the 100-foot wall off Metrowest Boulevard, near Eagle's Nest Elementary School.

The volunteers are part of ASEZ (Save the Earth from A to Z), the World Mission Society Church of God’s university student volunteer group, made up of students from the area's colleges.

ASEZ's social welfare initiative, "Reduce Crime Together," has university students across the globe participate in environmental cleanups — pointing to studies that show removing graffiti and cleaning neighborhoods reduces the probability of crime.

One volunteer, Spencer Judd, hopes vandals see the clean wall as a positive change for the community, not a blank canvas.

"This is kind of known to be a bad hangout area for a lot of gangs and people that aren’t here for the right reason," Judd said. "So the reason we want to clean this up is because we want to reduce crime in the area."

The nonprofit group Keep Orlando Beautiful chipped in the materials for the cleanup.

Volunteers are hoping their work inspires others to join the effort.

Photo courtesy of ASEZ Orlando