City Has a Plan to Combat Growing Graffiti Problem

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RENO, Nev.--It seem like once a week now we are hearing about a neighborhood littered with graffiti. Earlier this month it was a business in Midtown and a few days ago it was a church. But a new effort is underway to make a real difference in our graffiti problem.

Back in August, the city council realized how big of a problem graffiti was becoming so they created a special task-force. For the last several months that group has been working on a fix to the problem. On Wednesday night they presented their resolutions.

"Graffiti is a problem in this community and we are here to address it," said Tray Abney, Vice Chairman of the Graffiti Task Force.

The Graffiti Task Force told the city council 11 different ways they think the tagging problem can be fixed.

"It's education, it's of course enforcement and then it's eradication," said Abney.

They said we need a better focus on educating the community about why graffiti is a problem. This is for taggers and for people who let the graffiti go unreported.

"The real key to this is to get rid of it as soon as possible. The longer it stays up, the more problems it causes," said Abney.

They're proposing an "adopt-a-block" program. People would take responsibility for an area and make sure graffiti gets cleaned up. Also the police want businesses to sign waivers so crews don't have to ask permission to clean up graffiti.

"Then when it happens, we have the ability to have it removed right away and not try to obtain a waiver," said Deputy Chief Mac Venzon with the Reno Police Department.

Police already arrest taggers but they want harsher penalties and wider reaching laws. Ones that expand the definition of graffiti. A major problem with the law right now is that if an officer does not witness the vandalism, no arrest can be made.

"It's an activity that a small population does engage in but can have a big impact on the property owners and the community's image," said Reno City Councilwoman Jenny Brekhus.

The city council approved all 11 anti-graffiti resolutions. Some of them will be implemented in the coming weeks. Others, like the education aspect, will take some time to get up and running.