Worcester Businesses Outraged over Graffiti Problem
Monday, January 06, 2014
See Worcester Graffiti Slideshow Below
"It's a blight on the community," said Dave Tuttle, spokesperson for the Worcester County Sheriff's Office, who said that combating the graffiti problem is a major priority in the new year.
"We've got some ideas we want to discuss this week with the City, now that [interim City Manager Ed] Augustus is officially on board, and with the Chamber of Commerce," said Tuttle. "One idea is that we can form a partnership to provide clean-up materials for businesses, and see how we can utilize the work crews."
Burden on Businesses
"The tenant that owns the Subway is very frustrated. This on top of the illegal dumping we have experienced at the location for some time probably adds up more in gray hair than money. My husband has to leave our business today to go and paint over the ones on the front to begin with. This will likely mean locking the door for a time," Proko told GoLocal.
Proko continued, "Hard to put a number on that but when it's on the front like this, it can't remain. We also are trying to lease the hair salon. Doesn't really make it an attractive location when stuff like this happens even though I know our building was not alone."
"Actually I should mention that we pay over $1000 per month for security guards to drive thru our car lot on Mill Street, 2 properties in Tatnuck and as needed, 1 in Quinsig [sic] Village. I just increased the patrols on everything until I know they've nailed the creeps," said Proko. "So yes, that definitely costs more $$ in addition to the paint and time. Probably be another $500 to $1000 this month at least. I also heard they may have hit some city owned buildings."
Bill Randell with Advantage Benefits noted that business owners are in a bind -- and something needs to be done.
"The nuisance code inspector in only doing his or her job citing the property owner. Who else can they cite?" asked Randell. "At the same time the property owner is not doing it to his or her own property. Then to spend monies on constable services seems like a waste of City monies."
Randell echoed Tuttle's suggestion to look at utilizing the Sheriff's department as part of the solution. "Think it would be better to coordinate the graffiti [removal] with the Sheriff’s work crew?"
Tuttle said that while work crews have been used in Fitchburg, the issue of not only not having the necessary equipment in Worcester presented a problem, but there were legal hurdles, as well. "Our limitation is that lawyers wouldn't allow us to work on privately owned property, because we'd be utilizing state resources," said Tuttle.
Still, Tuttle wanted to look at how work crews could possibly be engaged. "There's got to be a way we can help out. We're going to try and address this issue, starting this week."
Police Following up on Recent Arrest, Ask Public for Help
The suspect was placed under arrest and charged with Trespassing, Willful and Malicious Destruction of Property and Carrying a Dangerous Weapon. The WPD noted, "This investigation is ongoing as investigators will work on connecting the remaining vandalized properties in the Tatnuck Square area to Mr. Nguyen. Investigators will work on identifying the second suspect. Investigators will also work on other recent tagged properties within the downtown area to see if these suspects are responsible for those acts as well."
Furthermore, the WPD continued, "If anyone has information about this incident they can send an anonymous text to 274637 TIPWPD + your message or send an anonymous web based message at worcesterma.gov/police. Calls can also be made to the Worcester Police Detective Bureau at (508) 799-8651."
Related Slideshow: Worcester’s Graffiti Problem
The Facebook page Worcester Ma Local News asked residents to speak out about Worcester's growing graffiti problem -- and GoLocal not only compiled some of the most telling responses, but also captured some of the many instances of graffiti in the city, shown in the slides below.