Thursday, March 22, 2007

Graffiti

I live in the City of Denver. I used to live in Lakewood. There are many differences between the cities. Denver picks up the trash as a city service. We had to pay separately in Lakewood although in Denver we do pay through taxes – probably more. The police are less responsive in Denver. We always appreciated the quick, caring response in Lakewood. Denver cleans up graffiti for free. In Lakewood, neighbors organized to keep neighborhoods clean.

A few months ago, there was a big meeting in Denver about what to do about the graffiti problem. The City spends about $1 million annually to clean it up and that is increasing. A committee formed after the meeting is now recommending that the City quit doing the cleanup and make home and business owners do it within two to three days.

I am not in favor of government doing things for us that we should do for ourselves. It may be a good idea for each home and business owner to be responsible to take care of their own area and you may have to force the lazy ones to do it. So, I can’t really oppose this new idea.

But here is what bugs me. It seems like a copout on the City’s part. They call a meeting to figure out what to do and then announce that they are getting out of the business and are going to put more pressure on the little guy. Thanks a lot.

There is a nice white fence down the street from me. It looked good when it was installed. Now it has become a favorite target of paint vandals. I feel sorry for the owners. I wonder if they now regret their choice of material. It seems that as soon as they clean up one mess, another appears.

From what I read awhile back, gangs are doing most of the graffiti and they use violence to protect their marks. They will go after another group who covers their tags. I hope that the homeowner will not become a target as well.

It seems what was left out of the committee recommendation was more enforcement by the police. As I said before, the Denver Police are not very responsive. If you look out the window and see a crime being committed don’t expect them to come running. Now there are times they will turn on the lights and siren but small crimes are a low priority. If they show up, it may be 20 to 30 minutes later, long after the criminal is gone.

If the attitude of enforcement was changed then maybe the graffiti problem could be curbed. It also does no good if once someone is caught they are allowed to breeze through the system with little consequence. These are two areas that government can do something where the average citizen can’t. I hope they will.

Philip

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