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North Park neighbors battle vandals tagging community

Posted at 5:33 PM, Jan 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-02 21:42:45-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - One man is speaking out after another batch of graffiti covered vacant buildings in North Park.

Alan Bennett has been a member of the Citizens on Patrol for about a decade and immersed himself in graffiti culture to understand what markings belong to a gang and what is painted by a poser.

"Most of this is recent and this is about the fourth time I've reported this facility," Bennett explained, looking at a home at the corner of Mississippi St. and El Cajon Blvd.

He arrived home from holiday travels this week and on his drive discovered the new tagging covering the two buildings, "Wow!" he exclaimed, "I mean it has never been this bad."

His concern based on the idea if graffiti remains, criminals will come back, feel entitled to the area and conduct more crime in the area.

"You don't have to say this is a knife driven into our heart, but... that's how I feel," he said sadly.

He constantly picks up litter and has his phone ready to report vandalism to the Get It Done app. "Displaying the tag of a gang or wannabe gang member is not conducive to us building our community," he said.

Businesses in the area enlisted urban street artists, covering their walls to hinder graffiti, a trend Bennett hopes catches on.

The City of San Diego currently has almost 300 open cases of reported graffiti. 10News asked the City of San Diego how long it takes for graffiti removal to happen after filing a report on the Get It Done app. They responded:

The length of time it takes to clean up graffiti varies based on where the graffiti is located and the amount of reports that we have within a given time range. The City is responsible for removing graffiti from public property and right-of-way and is removed rather quickly. If the graffiti is located on a commercial or private property, the City’s Graffiti Code Compliance team contacts the property owner to have the graffiti removed and this can takes longer to address.

The city also said in their statement, "Get It Done is connected to a regional graffiti tracking service, which provides tools to help law enforcement identify, track, and prosecute repeat graffiti offenders."