Since July, the City of Cortez has cleaned graffiti in 48 separate locations. Local law enforcement has caught 14 suspects, all of whom are teens, according to Assistant Police Chief Andy Brock. Officials are urging residents to report acts of vandalism to authorities using the non-emergency police phone number, 970-565-8441. By Connor Shreve. This story is sponsored by TruWest Auto and the Law Firm of Downs, McDonough, Cowan & Foley
A concerted cleanup effort is making a difference on the streets of Cortez. You're watching the Local News Network brought to you by TruWest Auto and the law firm of Downs, McDonough, Cowan & Foley. I'm Wendy Graham Settle. Since July, the City of Cortez has been cracking down on graffiti that keep Cortez beautiful effort came from city manager Drew Sanders amid a rising number of graffiti cases.
We started the program. We all kind of got enthused and went after it. And the city has made it a priority to as soon as it happens on city property, we clean it up. That's why we're starting with this is what we would like. And as soon as we started that, two days later, we had this massive graffiti get hit. You know, one person did a whole bunch of stuff, so it seemed really bad, but it was pretty typical, really.
Assistant Chief of Police Andy Brock says reported graffiti incidents are up slightly from last year, but the problem isn't rampant.
Part of the problem I think we're having is kind of like the broken window where you just let it go and let it go and it just gets worse and worse and worse. So it's not that we have that many more. We just have never taken care of that many. And so they've just built up to where we look like we have graffiti all over town.
Cortez has cleaned up graffiti in 48 places around town since beginning the effort that cost the city $240 an hour. And Brock says sometimes it can feel like throwing money away.
Several of those 48 have, you clean them up on a Friday or on a Monday, and on Tuesday you have to repaint them. So they've come back a couple of times, but it seems to have kind of tapered down. I think we've picked up maybe 13 or 14 people that we have charged with graffiti crimes right now.
That's why his department has also been focused on finding the offenders. Brock says the police have picked up 14 people on graffiti charges, all of whom are teenagers. Their punishment will include restitution. Six of those charges were called in by someone witnessing the crime. Brock hopes people will continue to report graffiti to the authorities as soon as they see it. Property owners who get tagged are responsible for removing the graffiti on their own.
So we have a product we're using right now called Citrol, and it's environmentally safe. It's kind of an organic thing. If you like the smell of oranges, it's even better. I've used it on metal. I've taken graffiti off on wood, on a cedar fence with it. So power washing works, you know. Unfortunately, sometimes, you know, as we all know, with any given cleaning product, it may not take all of it off. So we have to resort to painting over it. And luckily, this product we're using, Citrol, has been proven very successful on a multitude of surfaces. So they can pick that up actually locally or order it online.
Community services manager Ryan Liska says removing the graffiti quickly is one of the best ways to combat graffiti. Other preventative measures you can take include planting shrubs at the base of walls, installing cameras and improving lighting around your home. Working with your neighbors can also make your neighborhood a more difficult target. Thank you for watching this edition of the Local News Network. I'm Wendy Graham Settle.