Sunday, March 23, 2008

Diversity Watch: Syracuse, Utah Inundated With Graffiti

Here's some more "diversity", Utah. Welcome to Sureno Country.

Police believe teenagers on spring break caused thousands of dollars worth of damage in northern Utah. Vandals hit four different neighborhoods in Syracuse with graffiti. Full story aired on KTVX Channel 4.

On the morning of Friday March 22nd, 2008, several local residents woke up to a knock on their door. Police had an unpleasant surprise to show them; extensive damage to their property. It will take hundreds or thousands of dollars to clean up the mess, and some fences might even need to be replaced.

"I went into came out here and this, all over my vinyl fence. I don't even know how to get it off but it's not the first time this has happened in our neighborhood," said Syracuse resident Liz Lemmon.

Earlier in the week, Syracuse police closed the skate park at 1600 West Antelope Drive because of graphic graffiti. Thursday night, vandals tagged fences, street signs, and even cars. Overall, police say it could be thousands of dollars in damage. If it turns out that teens did commit these crimes, they could face jail time and their parents will most likely be liable for damages. Police are asking the community to be vigilant in keeping an eye on teenagers during this spring break.

While gangbangers, mostly non-white, are most likely to tag neighborhoods with graffitti as I discussed previously, a sudden dramatic upsurge as described above implies there could be a bunch of additional kids of any race involved here. Local police are the experts at distinguishing between gang-related graffitti vs. casual graffitti. Both types are equally offensive, but the first type is more likely to be recurring and accompanied by other problems.

Ironically, as recently as March 12th, the Deseret Morning News reported on West Valley City's ongoing graffitti problem. They have a graffiti hotline and a full time graffitti abatement officer who responds to graffiti outbreaks along the main roads. Their premise is that graffiti begets more graffiti, and failure to remove it promptly sends a message that residents don't care about a neighborhood. This can attract more serious predators.

Part of West Valley City's strategy is to install hidden cameras in key locations to nail whoever makes a habit of waging the graffiti war. Eventually, they may have a camera that will record the GPS location of each graffiti hit so police can record and graph the incidents and triangulate which gangs live where. Unlike casual graffiti "artists", gangs tend to tag areas in their own neighborhoods. This sounds like a strategy that Davis and Weber counties ought to consider. Perhaps someone like Ogden Mayor Matthew Godfrey would find this a more productive investment than throwing away more taxpayer dollars on a municipal golf course that has lost money EVERY year for the past 24 years.

The city of Las Cruces, New Mexico offers tips on how to remove graffiti. The Popular Mechanics website also discusses graffiti removal and the use of barrier coating which can be applied to make future graffiti removal much simpler. Since our elite decided that diversity is so wonderful, and imposed it upon us from the top down, we can expect to be contending with continuing graffiti outbreaks for the foreseeable future.

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