Graffiti: still a problem downtown

TaggerTrap system A year ago, I blogged a big graffiti incident downtown. This week, I took four photos of downtown buildings with new graffiti and added them to last year’s password-protected blog post. (Contact me if you’d like the password to view the photos.) I heard this piece on NPR’s All Things Considered this week: Cities Rely On High-Tech Method To Stop Graffiti. See this page on the TaggerTrap system which “detects the signature of a spray can and alarms the Police Department, Monitoring Center or security guard of tagging activity. With the TaggerTrap system, which includes a standalone network DVR, users can verify graffiti and the tagger responsible for the vandalism with digital video and audio over the Internet.”


  1. John S. Thomas said:

    I would agree that it has gone from a “problem” to an “epidemic”.

    The back side of the train depot is all heavily tagged, as well as many of the buildings downtown.

    Tags are even up on second and third story areas, and in hidden areas on buildings. (Near KYMN is an example)

    I guess the questions are:
    1. How do we take care of this issue?
    2. What other problems/issues does the widespread tagging mean to our community. Does its presence mean other things not so good are here, or coming soon?

    This went from a couple of small tags last year to a large amount of large tags.

    I think we first need to start with a cleanup, then talk about enhancing security in the downtown area. Perhaps securing buildings, roof access and fire escapes, and adding lighting and patrols might help.

    It truly is a blight. I am all for some cameras on the Riverwalk as well. Go after a “homeland security” grant or something? 😎

    April 11, 2009
  2. Griff Wigley said:

    John, I should note that the 4 new photos of graffiti that I mentioned in the blog post are not the only new tags around town, as you indicate. And some of the graffiti from last year’s March outbreak has not yet been removed.

    April 13, 2009
  3. Griff Wigley said:

    City Admin Joel Walinksi has a graffiti update in the April 17 Friday Memo:

    In regards to the graffiti and vandalism, Police Chief Taylor has continued to support scheduling of police officers “walking the beat” in the downtown area. The focus has been on the evening and nighttime hours when the likelihood of this activity occurring increases.

    At this time, officers routinely “walk the beat” 3 – 5 days per week, frequency determined primarily by available staff scheduling, but also on response to other emergencies. These efforts will be ongoing but with greater emphasis.

    Other work on the graffiti issue: there is work being done by an ongoing group involving downtown representatives, the Police Chief, and America In Bloom members looking at other preventative measures regarding graffiti that can be taken. Video surveillance, either public or private, and improving the responsiveness of the cleanup of graffiti on private property are two areas they have focused their time on.

    On City property, the current standard for cleanup and removal of graffiti is 24 hours once reported on weekdays and first of the week for items reported on weekends.

    Just as an update, the City has been in contact with CP Rail this week on cleaning up the graffiti on the old depot site, I hope to see some response to our dialogue within the next several weeks.

    April 19, 2009

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