Graffiti reports increasing, more widespread in city

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Graffiti removal requests in Grand Junction already have surpassed last year’s total.
By the end of July, 165 home and business owners had requested free graffiti removal or cover-up from the city of Grand Junction’s graffiti abatement program. Requests came from 138 business owners during all of 2008.

The increase could mean there is more graffiti in the city, or more people are aware of the program, or a combination of both, said Kathy Portner, Grand Junction’s neighborhood services manager.  It definitely has become a problem in more areas of the city, she said.

“We’re seeing it be a little more widespread than it has been. The majority of it had traditionally been in the downtown area,” Portner said.

A tour of downtown Monday revealed tags such as “Sparks” to “No Hate” to “Sushi.” City Hall, the Avalon Theatre, and the Old Mesa County Courthouse have all been painted with peace symbols within the past six months.

The city has had a program for removal of old and new graffiti since 2002. Until recently, the city hired a contractor to power wash, sandblast or paint over unwanted spray paint. The city now uses the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department’s inmate work crew. The crew already removes graffiti, among other tasks, in other parts of the county outside city limits.

City work crews remove or cover graffiti that is painted on public facilities in Grand Junction, such as bridges or park signs and amenities.

The county also plans to form a partnership with the city when it comes to reporting graffiti.

Later this month, the two governments are scheduled to introduce a hot line that anyone in the county can call to report graffiti or request graffiti removal, said Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Heather Benjamin. The city and county currently have separate numbers for reporting graffiti.

“If you see it happening you should call 9-1-1, so we can try to catch the person,” Benjamin said.


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