LFUCG PRESS RELEASE
LEXINGTON – A police task force targeting graffiti vandalism recently arrested 10 people and charged them with a variety of crimes related to over $26,000 in property damage.
“Property vandalism is serious and expensive,” Mayor Jim Gray said. “Congratulations to our police, to neighbors, to our parks personnel and to our friends from the Sheriff’s Office. With these arrests we are taking a big step forward in addressing this problem.”
The arrests were made in April as part of an ongoing effort to reduce graffiti. To make the arrests police investigated and completed criminal offense reports, filed criminal complaints through the county attorneys’ office, and contacted victims to get repair estimates.
“This graffiti task force is an example of the great work that can be done when everyone works together,” Police Chief Ronnie Bastin said. “I commend their hard work, and innovative investigative efforts in battling this important community issue.”
The city Division of Parks and Recreation has one employee whose full-time job is graffiti removal. At times more than one employee is involved.
“The city’s goal is to remove graffiti in order to improve the park experience for our citizens,” said Jerry Hancock, Director of the Division of Parks and Recreation. “We try to clean it up with 24 hours. It helps to address it quickly.” The problem affects parks citywide and is most prevalent in summer months.
Lisa Johnson, a neighbor who has been a member of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, has been battling graffiti since 2004. “Citizens want their parks and their buildings back,” Johnson said. “Our city is stepping up and saying enough is enough.”
The individuals arrested in task force investigation were booked on charges ranging from criminal mischief, hindering prosecution and unlawful possession of narcotics. Over half of the graffiti has already been cleaned and repaired by the offenders, the Division of Police reports.