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Riverton police create a task force to fight graffiti

Apr 13, 2012 - By Christina George, Staff Writer

The Riverton Police Department has formed a new task force in a cooperative effort with property owners to remove unwanted graffiti.

Police chief Mike Broadhead said the Graffiti Abatement Task Force is the city's solution to protecting and maintaining the community's infrastructure beautification.

"We've been hit with a lot of graffiti recently," Broadhead said, adding that suspects tend to lose interest in spraypainting buildings if the graffiti is painted over one or more times.

Starting now, Riverton property owners who file a graffiti report with the police department can ask for an abatement.

Broadhead said businesses have donated paint and other material for Wyoming Honor Farm inmates and service groups such as Key Club to paint over the graffiti.

"There is no cost to property owners," Broadhead said. "We are using honor farm inmates who want to give back to the community."

"Some homeowners or business owners who may not want inmates on the property, we will try to get someone else scheduled. But the inmates will be supervised," he added. "It's a good partnership, and the inmates want to pay back society."

Any property owner, whether it's residential or commercial property, can use the resource, Broadhead said.

"They need to be aware that we are not going to make an effort to have the paint match exactly," he said.

Property owners who have been victimized by graffiti are asked to call Cindy Harris at the RPD at 856-4891 to be placed on the list for abatement.

Broadhead said property owners must file a formal police report before the abatement can occur.

"We want it documented because it is a crime, and we want to make sure we are treating it as a crime" for possible future prosecution, he said.

He said he thinks one of the most effective ways to combat the problem of graffiti, particularly when it's gang related or tagging, is to remove or cover it as soon as possible.

Often times the "mere presence of graffiti leads others to use that same location to place additional tags or disrespect previous graffiti with various symbols," Broadhead said.

He suspects once people start seeing the task force's effort, more people will want to help the cause.

"The ultimate goal is to not have graffiti on parts of town," he said. "One kid with a can of spray paint can create incredible damage in one night."

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