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Spurs in graffiti incidents spark collaboration between departments

Youth cleaning graffiti
File Photo

A recent spur in graffiti incidents throughout downtown Columbia has groups throughout the city working together to find a solution.

A city ordinance requires property owners to remove graffiti within 72-hours of its occurrence. The Downtown Community Improvement District Board, the Columbia Police Department and the city of Columbia Neighborhood Services Office met on Tuesday, to determine ways of making this process easier on property owners.

Bill Cantin, a member of the Neighborhood Services Office, said a series of thirty to forty incidents were seen over the course of two evenings, recently.

“We aren’t planning to change anything in the ordinance, but we want to work with the property owners directly and find proactive approaches to get this cleaned up as quickly as possible,” Cantin said.

An option discussed at the meeting is the possibility of setting up a fund for property owners to help with the costs of cleanup. But district board member, Skip Walther, said he does not think the possibility of a fund is very high.

“This is the first time we’ve ever talked about the possibility of a fund, and I don’t think it’ll be very well received,” Walther said.

For now, they are hoping to contact all victims of graffiti and assisting them in finding the best form of removal.  

Both Cantin and Walther said the faster graffiti is removed the less likely it is to continue reappearing.

All three groups are continuing to work together to find the best solution to eliminate graffiti from downtown Columbia.

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