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City tackles graffiti problem

Muskogee Phoenix - 8/17/2022

Aug. 17—Muskogee City officials say they want property and business owners to report any issues with graffiti.

Ward II City Councilor Alex Reynolds said unaddressed graffiti could hurt the town's "pride of ownership issues."

"Unaddressed graffiti could take us back quickly if we just leave it there," he said at the Aug. 8City Council meeting. "If we're not in a position to address it quickly, we might consider a third party or a janitorial crew or someone who is readily equipped to address this quickly."

Larry Fennel, a maintenance supervisor with the Parks Department, said he has seen an uptick in graffiti over the past few weeks and months, especially graffiti tags with a stylized word that looks like "spieh."

"I don't know what that word is — but we have a lot of that popping up in places," he said.

Muskogee Police Chief Johnny Teehee said such graffiti has been seen in other towns.

"We have no leads on whether its gang related," he told the council. "We have community resource officers working on it."

Muskogee City Attorney Roy Tucker said the city is looking for businesses affected by graffiti and is encouraging them to contact the city for help.

The city can help business owners wash graffiti off the building, Tucker said.

"All they need to do is reach out to our planning department, which oversees code enforcement, and they can coordinate with the parks department, community service and business owner to make sure we can come clean that off," he said. "Because our parks department has experience dealing with this, they have a very affective chemical that will take it off the building."

Business owners also are encouraged to report anyone defacing their property, Tucker said, adding that defacing property carries a $200 fine, plus $60 in court costs.

Fennel said cleaning graffiti is an ongoing job on city property.

"The type of graffiti I deal with at skateparks and playgrounds, that's pretty steady," he said. "You can see based on the 'quality' of the artwork, it's just kids... That's what I find myself cleaning up the most — naked ladies, body parts, bad words. Occasionally you get swastikas, racist charged things. We have tools in our arsenal for removing graffiti."

He recalled crews spending three days removing graffiti from the Midland Valley Skate Park a week before Robison Park's National Night Out gathering earlier this month.

"Within 72 hours, they had already come over and tagged it," Fennel said.

Mayor Marlon Coleman suggested businesses put up 24-hour camera systems to monitor their places.

You can help

—People with information about graffiti are encourage to contact investigations at (918) 680-3124 or you can remain anonymous at (918) 682-COPS.


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