Building Falls Victim to Graffiti Multiple Times, Owner Wants City Council to Take Action

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After having his building vandalized three times in the last four months, a Grand Junction man says enough is enough. Now he wants City Council to do something about it.

On Monday, Grand Junction resident John Crouch sent a letter addressed to Mayor Gregg Palmer asking him and other council members to create new laws and regulations that he says would stop the problems he and other businesses face.

"I don't even get to the point where the paint is dry and they spray paint it again," said Crouch.

Crouch says it's a problem that's leaving him redder than the spray paint on his walls. Once in March, once in May, and again this past weekend, he became a victim of tagging -- a type of vandalism where people spray paint gang symbols on walls to mark their territory.

"Our town lacks some of the municipal tools, codes, rules and regulations that other cities have that can help deter this," said Crouch.

Crouch says he's tried everything from adding more lights to installing security cameras around his property, but nothing seems to work. While he's left spending time and money trying to come up with a solution, he says the city isn't taking any pro-active steps to help.

Officials say a city graffiti removal program is in place that will pay for contracted workers to cover up spray paint on businesses. While they understand Crouch's frustrations, they say overall graffiti is not a huge problem and the city only has to spend less than $20,000 a year on it.

"We feel we're doing well in addressing some of the needs," said Laurie Kadrich, Grand Junction City Manager.

Kadrich says she's read the letter Crouch sent to the city and plans on meeting with him to discuss his three suggestions, one of which was making it illegal for people under 21 to buy spray paint.

"Sometimes that has an unintended consequence of more thefts to get those paint cans and continue with that activity," said Kadrich.

In his letter, Crouch says he also wants tagging to be a felony, not a misdemeanor.

"That building I painted Friday cost me two-thousand one-hundred eighty dollars and before the the weekend was over, they spray painted it red," said Crouch. "That's certainly not a misdemeanor."

Kadrich says only the state government can make that kind of change.

"That doesn't mean that if it came by way of review as the best way to deal with this situation that we wouldn't work with our legislators," said Kadrich.

Finally, he asks the city to enact a law that requires business owners to paint over the graffiti within 48 hours or the city will.

"This may be a very good solution to getting more people to call so we can get it cleaned up quickly," said Kadrich.

Kadrich says even though not all of Crouch's proposals are possible, officials are still open to finding new or better ways they can help.

According to Grand Junction Police Records, officers have received 161 reports of graffiti vandalism from January to June of this year.

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