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Graffiti vandals make their mark on Durango taxpayers’ time and wallets

Police say scrawlings are more visible but have not increased significantly with arrival of spring
A storage container on Tuesday that sits behind the Roost Apartments was recently hit with graffiti. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

While weather-predicting groundhog Punxsutawney Phil signaled six more weeks of winter upon seeing his shadow at the dawn of February – Durango hooligans bringing the blight of graffiti to public and private property may foreshadow the arrival of spring.

There is no noticeable increase in graffiti of late so much as larger more visible splashes of ballooned writing believed to be the stamp of a particular few vandals, according to the Durango Police Department.

“One of the things with graffiti and taggers is that they often use a similar style so it’s really easy to tie together in many instances,” said DPD Cmdr. Jacob Dunlop.

Large concrete surfaces attract the eye of spray-paint wielding wrongdoers as do the underbelly of bridges, the Schneider Park skate park, Santa Rita Park and the High Bridge on South Camino del Rio. Much of the graffiti goes unreported, Dunlop said, but whether reported or not, on public or private property, a Durango public ordinance requires it be covered or removed within 10 days.

“And per the city ordinance it is the property owner’s responsibility,” Dunlop said. “And we see it on a mix of public and private property.”

Graffiti below the High Bridge on South Camino de Rio. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

Clean up can be costly and time-intensive depending on the surface it appears on, but it is most often dealt with by paint roller-equipped property owners who cover it over. The most burdensome tagging involves damage to historic buildings and areas declared historic landmarks because any effort to remove it must be accomplished with paint and a process that meets a historically accurate benchmark.

Graffiti on the Fort Lewis College entrance sign on campus. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

The public is asked to report any suspicious activity or vandalized property to the Durango Police Department as quickly as possible so it can be documented and compared with other instances of graffiti and tagging.


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