We wanted to make sure that Montclarions heard some “official reactions” to the recent graffiti attacks on Montclair Village. You really can’t miss the spray paint when you see the defaced welcome sign and then drive north into the village – and this vandalism creates an awful first impression.
Montclarions should expect the most egregious graffiti to be wiped clean, as many times as necessary. Kudos to the Montclair Village Association for their responsiveness on the welcome sign, as repairs are getting done quickly. We understand a couple other places are getting fixed, and will check ’em out later.
However, we can’t rely on the powers-that-be when it comes to graffiti. Locals are asked to participate in the ongoing solution, by reporting findings around the village streets. Then we keep our fingers crossed, depending on the public or private property owner!
Please take a look at this morning’s email sent out by Roger Vickery, who directs the Montclair Village Association (MVA). As you likely know, this merchant group maintains and spices up our faire village district. Vickery reports on the latest happenings and shares some advice from Nick Vigilante, who chairs the Montclair Safety & Improvement Council (MSIC).
Graffiti in the Village
From Roger Vickery, MVA Executive Director
Greetings! As you may know, last weekend the Village was hit with graffiti quite extensively, on private and public property. The most visible instance of it was on the “Welcome to Montclair” sign near the corner of Mountain and Park Boulevards. The sign had been vandalized and repaired just a week before by Dave Strong of Strong Signs (thanks, Dave, for the quick response), and subsequently subjected to this past weekend’s graffiti. The MVA asked our maintenance company, Peralta Services, to power wash the sign, and paint over small areas in the Village where they could (parking kiosks for example). That work has been completed, but it seems like an on-going task.
In light of these recent incidents, Nick Vigilante, chair of the Montclair Safety & Improvement Council (MSIC), has written on their Yahoo Group the following:
Vandalism, a crime, is defined as the act of changing, modifying or defacing public or private property. Graffiti is a crime because it a form of vandalism. To enhance reporting and recording graffiti crimes in Montclair, here are the procedures to handle it:
1. Report Graffiti in-progress:
If graffiti is seen in-progress on either public or private property in Oakland, immediately call 911 from a landline, or 777-3211 from a cell phone.
2. Graffiti on city property (after it occurred):
One should contact either the Public Works Agency (PWA) and/or the Oakland Police Department (OPD) to report graffiti. Contact the Public Works Agency (PWA) – 615-5566, or send an email to email@example.com. Or, contact the Oakland Police Department (OPD) – 238-4703
Regardless of which Department you contact, the contact ends up at the PWA for the clean-up. If OPD is called, they refer the calls to PWA for the clean-up. If you think the graffiti is gang-related, the OPD number should be called so OPD can examine the graffiti and the location of it, to see if it is linked to gang and/or illegal drug and alcohol use. If someone does not know if the graffiti is gang-related, then contacting both Departments is probably the best way to handle it – make it clear to both Departments that you do not know if the graffiti is gang-related. If the graffiti is not gang-related, contacting PWA is the best way to handle it for the clean-up purposes.
3. Graffiti on private property (after it occurred):
Contact the Oakland Police Department (OPD) – 238-4703
4. In addition to #2 or #3 above, file a police report on the graffiti:
Graffiti reports do not always end up in the OPD crime reporting data base. The monthly reports I send out on our MSIC Yahoo! Group will verify this. Therefore, I recommend you file a Citizen Crime Report for each incident of graffiti, whether it be on public or private property. This can be done via computer and on-line at the Oakland Police Department web site at www.oaklandpolice.com.
Reporting graffiti this way helps bring the graffiti problem to the attention of OPD; gets it into the OPD crime reporting data base to keep track of it; helps raise graffiti problems with Montclair’s Problem Solving Officer for patrol, investigation, enforcement, and prevention activities; and helps get the graffiti removed (clean-up) on city property.
There are three points I’d like to add to Nick’s very complete information:
Some graffiti ends up on PG&E or EBMUD property, so they must be contacted to address it:
- Report any graffiti you see on PG&E property by contacting them on-line: click here or call 1-800-743-5000.
- Report any graffiti you see on EBMUD property by contacting them on-line: click here. (Although graffiti is not one of the topics on the list, use this form anyway.)
Regarding graffiti you see on private property in the Village, in addition to notifying the OPD, please let us know at the MVA office at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are working with Village property owners on this regularly and can use the extra eyes of the community to catch graffiti when it happens.
Finally, those of you who are parents of school-age children (or any kids that might be doing this) let them know this kind of vandalism is expensive to address and contributes to making the Village a less attractive place to visit…and, of course, it’s illegal. We have our private security folks and the OPD alerted, so they are running the risk of getting caught.
Sorry to be providing such a downer at the beginning of the holiday season, but we need to stay on top of this…we know that graffiti that is allowed to remain draws more graffiti, and the appeal of our Village is seriously affected.