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Busloads of Anaheim Students Join Chief in Cleaning Up Graffiti

Dozens of Anaheim students joined Police Chief John Welter, state Sen. Lou Correa and county supervisor Shawn Nelson last weekend in cleaning up trash and graffiti along the Katella Avenue railroad tracks.

To read an Orange County Register story about the effort – and view photos – click here.

City Leaders Celebrate Anti-Graffiti Effort’s Improvement of Anaheim Neighborhood

OC Register photo

Dozens of community members this weekend cleaned up the Balsam-Curtis
neighborhood for the fourth time this year – and then celebrated the
neighborhood’s improvement with a barbecue.

Anaheim PD’s Cops 4 Kids, city recreation leaders and bookmobile
librarians set up tents and talked with kids about programs the city
has to offer. The effort was organized by Anaheim Rotary, the police
department and Anaheim Beautiful.

“Our hope is that kids will pick up a book instead of spray cans and
focus on positive things,” Marty De Sollar, a city spokeswoman, told
the Orange County Register.

To read the Register’s story about the effort, click here.

New Web Page Highlights Anaheim’s Anti-Graffiti Efforts

A new Web site aimed at keeping the public informed about the city’s effort to curb graffiti went live this morning.

“Graffiti is an issue in neighborhoods throughout Anaheim, and the new site is another way to encourage the community to get involved,” said Lt. Mark Cyprien, who chairs the Anaheim Community Anti-Graffiti Effort.

The site includes tips on how to report graffiti and how to protect homes and businesses, and provides updates and success stories regarding the city’s two-year effort.

To view the site, click here.

Anti-Graffiti Effort Continues to Pay Dividends

Graffiti is down. Awareness is up.

But vigilance is still required.

Volunteers paint over graffiti

Those were the key messages Thursday morning at the quarterly meeting of the city’s two-year-old Anaheim Community Anti-Graffiti Effort.

“It’s a lot better than it was when we started,” Police Chief John Welter said. “Now the question is: What are our long-term strategies to sustain this effort.”

School, city and police officials attempted to answer Welter’s question by outlining a number of ways the community continues to combat tagging.

Some examples include:

– Publicizing a confidential graffiti hotline in the schools. Calls are up.
– A spike in court referrals for convicts assigned to community service.
– Children at the Boys and Girls Club developed and play a Monopoly-type game that illustrates the dangers associated with graffiti.

APD also recently engaged in sting operations to cite stores that sell spray paint to minors. The stores received a $1,000 fine.

A few weeks later, when a different underage decoy attempted to buy spray paint, “the store employees nearly chased the kids out of the shops,” said Sgt. Rick Martinez. “All of these efforts continue to make an impact.”

Update: Graffiti Awareness and Arrests are Up, Tagging is Down

An 18-month community effort to rid Anaheim of graffiti has made considerable strides toward achieving its goals, officials said last week.

But the problem is far from solved.

Chief John Welter discusses ways to engage the community's participation in ridding Anaheim of graffiti

Chief John Welter discusses ways to engage the community's participation in ridding Anaheim of graffiti

At a meeting Thursday, about 50 city and police employees joined some community members to discuss accomplishments and next steps for the Anaheim Community Anti-Graffiti Effort (ACAGE).

Among the accomplishments:

  • 478 graffiti-related arrests and 713 cases cleared.
  • More than 27,000 sq. ft. of graffiti removed last summer by the Disney Goals team, comprised of 24 teenage volunteers.
  • The launching of a city-wide program to give parents tools to discourage their children from tagging.
  • The amount of new graffiti being reported is down.

“I’ve very pleased with the effort we’ve made and what’s happened,” Anaheim Police Chief John Welter told attendees. “But we’re not done. We’re not going to stop.”

The Police Department plans to address students at 20 school assemblies. The city’s legal department is considering new ordinances to stiffen penalties. A group of volunteers continues to paint over graffiti as it’s discovered.

The police department is also testing new technology that sends immediate alerts when taggers strike.

Welter said he hopes the group continues to focus on raising awareness.

“It’s not just about enforcement,” he said. “It’s about getting at the root cause.”

APD: To Stop Taggers, Report Graffiti Immediately

The approach is inventive and aggressive – and the mission is clear: Discourage taggers from vandalizing the city.

City Councilman Harry Sidhu and Police Chief John Welter join ACAGE members in painting over graffiti

City Councilman Harry Sidhu and Police Chief John Welter join ACAGE members in painting over graffiti

The message is just as clear: To be successful, police officers, city leaders, business owners and residents must work together.

“Graffiti is a complicated problem,” said Sherri Vander Dussen, Anaheim’s planning director. “We need to have a lot of people involved in the solution. You can’t assume that one answer that prevents one kid from doing graffiti is going to prevent another.”

For 18 months, a cross-section of city officials and community members bound together as the Anaheim Community Anti-Graffiti Effort (ACAGE) have addressed the issue. Most recently, volunteers armed with paint brushes “cleaned up” the Balsam/Curtis/Banyan area of the city. And on Saturday, state Sen. Lou Correa led another ACAGE effort.

“This is the first program of its kind in the city and involves adopting a city neighborhood under a one-year commitment to clean up graffiti, shopping carts and other eye sores,” wrote Victor Dominguez, an Anaheim Rotary member, in a recent Anaheim Bulletin article.

The effort also includes finding new ways to make targets less vulnerable, educating children about the perils of vandalism and encouraging prosecution.

Already, the program has touched more than 10,000 residents.

“I’m very pleased to see the progress we’ve made so far,” said Police Chief John Welter, who has led the effort. “And I’m even more excited about the progress we’re going to make over the next six months.”

To report graffiti, call 3-1-1 or (714) 765-4311.

“We’ve learned that the faster that graffiti is removed the less likely it is to recur,” said Vander Dussen.

For more information about the program’s goals, click here to read an informative article in the current edition of Anaheim magazine.

Please join us at our next meeting. It’s scheduled for Sept. 24 at 9 a.m. at the Anaheim Family Justice Center, 150 W. Vermont Avenue.

And stay tuned for updates on this important initiative.