The San Marcos’ Mayor’s office and the Police Department are partnering up to create a volunteer task force that would help rid the city of graffiti. Crime Prevention Officer Danny Arredondo said the Police Department and the Mayor are beginning a preventative program geared to removing graffiti and keeping it out of San Marcos. Volunteers from Texas State University, the Civic Community Group, and Gary Jobs Corp will be recruited to aid in the process.”I started asking for this more than a year ago, we need to get this out,” said Mayor Susan Narvaiz.
The city has funded the purchase of a “soda-blaster” to remove graffiti from city property. The device would power spray baking soda and water onto the affected property, removing the graffiti without damaging the structure. It is designed to “blast” the graffiti away. Money has also been set aside for paint which would be used on city structures that have been vandalized.
“The whole idea is to improve the aesthetics,” said San Marcos Police Chief Howard Williams.
Under Title 7 of the Penal Code, graffiti is defined as, “a person commits an offense if, without the effective consent of the owner, the person intentionally or knowingly makes markings, including inscriptions, slogans, drawings, or paintings, on the tangible property of the owner with an aerosol paint, an indelible marker, or an etching or engraving device.”
Williams said San Marcos is not experiencing a major problem with graffiti, but it is beginning to become more prevalent. “There are places unquestionably were graffiti is a bigger problem,” said Williams. “But it makes the city look disorderly, look trashy and generally unattractive. It tends to invite crime and disorder.”
Detective W. Gean Tucker said graffiti usually comes from three main sources, high school students, people that attend Gary Jobs Corp, and people at Texas State University. He said they tend to act at night in quiet private areas where they cannot be seen.
“If you want to prevent tagging, have lighting in your area and keep it clear,” said Tucker. “If your fence is tagged take a picture of it, call us right away, and as soon as we’re finished looking at it, paint it, cover it up,” said Tucker. “Don’t leave it. If you leave it, they’ll go, ‘oh he doesn’t care,’ and they’ll come back and keep doing it, and your fence will be covered in no time.”
Tucker said graffiti is less likely to return if it’s removed within 48 hours. He added that pinpointing the culprit is not always easy.
“I have sat down with quote unquote leaders of gangs in this area, and said ‘the tagging will stop, let’s have a deal; stop tagging San Marcos,’ and its worked when I can track down who it is,” said Tucker. “Although graffiti is not easy to locate the actor; usually the best way to do it is to find them in the act, which is difficult to do.”
Williams said online social networking sites like myspace, have proven to be a helpful tool. He said people post pictures of their “work” prompting the police department to follow up on them.
“This can be seriously punished,” said Williams. “You can do some serious time in jail for graffiti.”
Under Title 7 of the Penal Code graffiti charges can range from Class B misdemeanor to first degree felony.
By ANDY SEVILLA
Photos by Andy SevillaEmail | Print