WASHOE COUNTY NEWS RELEASE
“Graffiti vandalism is a costly burden to our residents, causing extensive damage to both public and private property and the image of our community” reported Washoe County Undersheriff Todd Vinger in his presentation before the Washoe County Board of County Commissioners this morning.
Graffiti has become a growing concern for the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office. With the recent economic downturn, it has become increasingly difficult to maintain the level of enforcement and abatement that citizens counted on in the past.
The Sheriff’s Office is increasingly responding to incidents of graffiti outside of the unincorporated areas–an increase of over 270 percent in cases handled in the past two years. As of fiscal year 2010/2011, the Sheriff’s Office has taken the lead in the overall number of graffiti cases taken per agency.
Undersheriff Vinger points out that Washoe County can not do it alone. “We don’t have the human or financial resources to properly combat the day-to-day abatement. Therefore, it is important that we engage the entire community as our partners. Citizens have a vital role in graffiti abatement.”
The same message was delivered by the Reno Police Department, City of Sparks, Nevada Department of Transportation and city and county parks and public works departments at the Graffiti Task Force Strategic Planning session held in July.
The task force, organized by the Sheriff’s office, identified three main elements to address the challenges:
· Stronger enforcement
· Quicker abatement
· Education and prevention
And thanks to the passage of Senate Bill 257, law enforcement has a new tool to combat graffiti. Senate Bill 257 enacted stricter penalties for perpetrators. Effective October 1, vandals who are younger than 18 years of age and their parents can be required to perform community services, attend counseling and make restitution.
Undersheriff Vinger states, “Graffiti is not art. It’s a cancer that could deteriorate our neighborhoods . . . our community . . . our quality of life in the Truckee Meadows. With effective law enforcement, community leadership and citizen support, we collectively can stop graffiti”.
For more information about the graffiti in Washoe County, visit www.washoesheriff.com and click on the graffiti button.