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Graffiti reports on the rise in Tucson

Graffiti .jpg
Posted at 4:10 PM, Feb 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-08 00:17:46-05

TUCSON, Ariz (KGUN) — Graffiti is landing on local businesses, in your neighborhoods and on washes around town, and it's costing hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to clean it all up.

Tucson Police are working to decrease the damage that’s also hitting your pockets.

Sergeant Faith Schrouder with TPD's neighborhood Crime Section explained in 2012 the cost for the city was about a million dollars.

"We've seen those numbers significantly dropping and since 2015 to the present, it's now down into the more 400,000 range,” explained Sergeant Faith Schrouder.

The City of Tucson explained graffiti has been a problem for years and the number of graffiti cleanups is on the rise.

In 2019, more than 3,542 incidents of vandalism were reported to the city, and in 2020 they cleaned up nearly 5,180.

City officials explain they can't pinpoint why.

"But we couldn't tell you if that is because there is more or because people are reporting. That's difficult to come by," said Cristina Polsgrove, Tucson environmental & general services.

Tucson Police said the biggest deterrent to this crime is getting the vandalism cleaned up right away, and that's where the community's assistance comes in.

"We always appreciate getting the reports from residents, because they are out there. Walking driving doing all the things that keep them busy,” said Polsgrove.

Residents can report the vandalism through the City's app.

"When people submit graffiti report through the app, they can take a picture of it, and then it's part of the record,” said Polsgrove.

The city contracts with a local company to clean up the damage left behind once it’s reported.

TPD explained some of the reports have led to the city getting back some of the money they are spending on cleanup.

"Since 2015, we've seen over 30 successful convictions for felony criminal damage felony vandalism. And what that does is it allows us to acquire restitution for the city in the tune of thousands of dollars that's returned to the city,” said Sgt. Schrouder.