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The original item was published from 2/14/2020 12:24:52 PM to 2/22/2020 12:00:05 AM.

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Posted on: February 14, 2020

[ARCHIVED] Increase in Graffiti Prompts Warning, Tips on Vandalism

Graffiti on a house

Las Cruces Codes Enforcement has seen a 72 percent increase in graffiti cases in recent weeks and is encouraging residents to immediately report such incidents and refrain from posting photos on social media.

In 2019, Codes Enforcement recorded 381 calls for graffiti and from Jan. 1 through Feb. 13 had 48 incidents. For the same time period in 2020, Codes Enforcement has seen 83 such incidents. That’s a 72 percent increase in reports of graffiti for the first 44 days of 2020.

Law enforcement alone cannot curtail acts of graffiti. Codes and law enforcement need help from the community to help reduce such acts of vandalism.

Police suggest following these tips:

  • Refrain from posting images or video of graffiti online and on social media. Doing so fuels the perpetrator and provides them a greater platform. Remember, the vandal’s objective is to have others see his or her work so abstain from helping.
  • Call Las Cruces Codes Enforcement at (575) 526-0795 or the Graffiti Hotline at (575) 528-4723 to report graffiti or individuals suspected of it. Reports can also be submitted online by clicking “File a Report Online” at www.las-cruces.org/153/Police.
  • After filing a report and properly documenting graffiti, the property owners should promptly remove, paint over or cover the vandalism. Property owners should remove graffiti within 10 days to avoid a citation.
  • Encourage others – neighbors and businesses – to remove graffiti promptly to help discourage repeat offenses. Vandals are drawn to walls that are not cleaned immediately because it means their graffiti will be visible longer and potentially seen by more people. By removing or covering graffiti quickly, you prevent property from becoming a known good site for such vandalism.
  • Install a video security system that can be used to capture images of illegal activity.
  • If you know of or see someone vandalizing property, call police immediately and report it. Do not take matters into your own hands.
  • Cooperate with police in prosecuting those who vandalize our community.

Anyone suspected of committing vandalism to public or private property could, depending on the amount of damage, be charged with a felony offense. Offenders can also be required to pay restitution to the property owner for the cost of damages and repair.

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