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Graffiti, vandalism hit Marysville hard

Police and city officials say the summer months brought a wave of graffiti and vandalism problems. And while summer is over, this tag could be seen the morning of Sept. 29 on one of the supports for the Marysville water tower in Comeford Park. -
Police and city officials say the summer months brought a wave of graffiti and vandalism problems. And while summer is over, this tag could be seen the morning of Sept. 29 on one of the supports for the Marysville water tower in Comeford Park.
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MARYSVILLE — Resident Jim Beem didn’t want to give his address, probably because he didn’t want to make his property any more of a target for graffiti than it already is.

Beem said a fence around his home was hit by taggers three times over the summer. He said that twice he cleaned up the mess himself, while the city cleaned up the latest bit of vandalism.

Overall, Beem said he’s spent about $300 to sand or pressure wash his fence, as well as shelling out dollars for sealant to refinish the fence each time the graffiti was removed.

What Beem actually said regarding the taggers who attacked his property can’t be printed, but he’s definitely annoyed and he’s probably not alone.

Public information officer for the Marysville police, Cmdr. Ralph Krusey said incidents of vandalism and graffiti undoubtedly spiked during the recent summer months. He didn’t have figures as to whether problems have slowed since school went back into session in early September.

Just prior to the start of school, at a Sept. 8 City Council meeting, Councilman Jeff Vaughan reported the city had cleaned up over 200 incidents of graffiti in the two weeks prior. He added billable costs for graffiti clean-up have topped $65,000 since July of last year. Etching also has become a problem, especially at schools and Community Transit bus stops. Vaughan didn’t specifically mention it, but a bus stop at Comeford Park is basically coated with etched-on graffiti.

Despite what might seem to be some dismal circumstances, Vaughan and others say the city is making progress in dealing with taggers. Vaughan talked about how use of the city’s Web site to report vandalism incidents has increased the speed at which the vandalism is removed. He also mentioned what were at the time four recent arrests. Those suspects included two persons Marysville police consider to be among the top nine offenders.

More recently, Krusey talked about additional arrests and emphasized progress made by the city’s graffiti task force as well as the school resource officers, or SRO’s, who patrol the Marysville school district.

Thanks to the work of one SRO in particular, Krusey said police have on file a large collection of graffiti pictures. By paying attention to the style of the graffiti, officials have been able to link suspects to multiple instances of vandalism, even creating the above-mentioned list of the worst offenders. With all that in mind, Krusey said police are more than ever urging victims to take pictures before removing any graffiti.

“It’s very important that they take pictures before its painted over,” Krusey said.

In the past, city officials have noted that if victims use a digital camera, graffiti pictures can be downloaded directly to the Marysville municipal Web site at ci.marysville.wa.us.

Beem also urged victims take pictures, but said the city might want at least to slightly slow down the process of cleaning up tags and vandalism. After the third attack on his property, he said city workers removed the graffiti so quickly he had no opportunity to snap a picture.

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