GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — Drive through downtown Greensboro, and you’ll see a lot of buildings and streets tagged with graffiti.

Our crews spotted graffiti along a mile stretch of North Elm Street and South Elm Street. Greensboro police say it happened around 3 a.m. Wednesday.

Officers noticed the problem as they were patrolling the area around 6 a.m. Nine businesses were defaced.

All up and down South Elm Street and North Elm Street, you could see people outside spraying and scrubbing away the mess vandals left behind.

Graffiti covered businesses and an unoccupied building in the 200 block of South Elm Street.

“It’s uncalled for destruction,” Todd Omley said. “If they want to put their skills to use, they can get paid to do this.”

It wasn’t just businesses tagged.

Greensboro city crews spent their morning pressure washing and spraying off poles and walls that were hit by vandals at the Steven Tanger Center for the Performing Arts.

A utility box was tagged on the corner of East Fisher Avenue and North Elm Street.

“It’s disappointing. The harder you work to build a community, it’s always someone who doesn’t understand what you’re trying to achieve,” said John Swaine, CEO of the International Civil Rights Center and Museum.

He was shocked when he came into work,

“I first saw it when you brought it to my attention. I came in through the side building after an appointment this morning, so it’s my first time seeing it. It’s a little disappointing,” he said.

Swaine tells FOX8 that downtown Greensboro attracts people from all over, and city leaders work hard to improve the city only to have people tear it down.

“It was a call for attention, but I think there are a great number of ways for us to come together to continue to build a community to make our voices heard to solve community problems rather than to destroy and deface community property. Our response to something like this is: ‘let’s clean it up…be grateful no lives were lost,'” Swaine said.

He wants to see whoever is responsible held accountable and would like to have a conversation to educate them.

“I think it’s important that the community knows there are such people who care so little about this community that they will undertake this action,” Swaine said.

A spokesperson with the City of Greensboro tells FOX8 the city is responsible for cleaning all city property including streets, buildings and utility boxes.

Private business owners and nonprofits like the International Civil Rights Museum will have to foot their bill.

On Wednesday, they spent about $350 cleaning the mess.

Greensboro police say they are pulling surveillance video from downtown businesses to investigate.