Group plans inventory of graffiti

SALEM – City police responded to three different reports of graffiti Monday, incidents likely to become part of an inventory kicking off at 10 a.m. Saturday at city hall.

Councilman Rick Drummond, who’s been leading an anti-graffiti group, touched on the event briefly Tuesday night, noting they’re looking for any interested volunteers to show up and help inventory graffiti tags throughout the city.

The inventory will give them an idea of what they’ll be up against when they hold a graffiti clean-up event from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 20, with volunteers also meeting at city hall before fanning out with their cleaning supplies to remove tags.

Drummond noted that no cleaning will take place on Saturday. They just want to record where the graffiti is in preparation for the clean-up later this month.

The anti-graffiti group started meeting after the Rules & Ordinances Committee of City Council, which Drummond chairs, decided against passing an ordinance related to graffiti. The committee members instead decided to try what they considered a more positive approach to get the residents and businesses involved in tackling the graffiti problem by forming a group to look at all aspects of the problem, with removal being the key element.

On Monday, the Salem Police Department received a report at 9:39 a.m. from a business in the Salem Plaza concerning graffiti found on the back side of the building which appeared to be new. An officer located the graffiti and took photographs of the damage.

A few hours later at 12:21 p.m., a woman on Continental Drive called to report someone spraypainted words on a parked truck in black and silver paint. At 12:29 p.m., it was reported that the stationary mailboxes for an apartment complex in the area of Continental and Bentley were spraypainted around the key holes. The dumpster had red spraypaint on it.

Drummond said a suggestion was made after those incidents were reported that perhaps requiring people to produce photo identification to purchase spraypaint could act as a deterrent for vandals. Maybe they won’t bother if they have to show ID to buy the paint.

The idea will be discussed during a Rules & Ordinances meeting scheduled for 6 p.m. April 9 at city hall council chambers. The other topic for the meeting will be the status of sick leave for part-time city employees.

Mary Ann Greier can be reached at