City tackles graffiti problem | News

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City tackles graffiti problem |  News

Muskogee City officials say they want property and business owners to report any issues with graffiti.

Ward II City Councilman Alex Reynolds said unaddressed graffiti could harm the town’s “pride of ownership issues.”

“Unaddressed graffiti can quickly take us back if we just leave it there,” he said at the August 8 city council meeting. “If we’re not in a position to address it quickly, we might consider a third party or a cleanup team or someone who is readily equipped to address it quickly.”

Larry Fennel, a maintenance supervisor with the Parks Department, said he’s seen an increase in graffiti in recent weeks and months, particularly graffiti tags with a stylized word that looks like “spieh.”

“I don’t know what that word is — but we have a lot of it popping up in places,” he said.

Muskogee Police Chief Johnny Teehee said similar graffiti has been seen in other towns.

“We have no leads as to whether he is gang related,” he told the council. “We have community resource officers working on it.”

Muskogee City Attorney Roy Tucker said the city is looking for businesses affected by graffiti and encourages them to contact the city for help.

The city can help business owners wash graffiti off the building, Tucker said.

“All they have to do is reach out to our planning department, which oversees code enforcement, and they can coordinate with the parks department, community service and business owner to make sure we can clear it up,” he said. “Because our parks department has experience dealing with it, they have a very affective chemical that will take it off the building.”

Business owners are also encouraged to report anyone trespassing on their property, Tucker said, adding that trespassing carries a $200 fine, plus $60 in court costs.

Fennel said cleaning up graffiti is an ongoing task on city property.

“The type of graffiti I deal with at skate parks and playgrounds, it’s pretty consistent,” he said. “You can tell based on the ‘quality’ of the artwork, it’s just kids… That’s what I find to clean up the most – naked ladies, body parts, bad words. Sometimes you get swastikas, racially charged stuff . We have tools in our arsenal to remove graffiti.”

He recalled that crews spent three days removing graffiti from the Midland Valley Skate Park a week before Robison Park’s National Night Out event earlier this month.

“Within 72 hours they already came and marked it,” Fennel said.

Mayor Marlon Coleman suggested that businesses set up 24-hour camera systems to monitor their premises.

You can help

• People with information about graffiti are encouraged to contact investigations at (918) 680-3124 or you can remain anonymous at (918) 682-COPS.

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