Incidents of graffiti are growing in Graham - some recent, and some not-so-recent.
It's in the alley on Elm Street, on dumpsters and a bay door, the walls of several businesses down Highway 16, inside of a least one abandoned building on Oak and on the timeless 7-Up mural at Third and Oak streets on the Square.
“We encounter that on a fairly regular basis, and various groups are responsible for that,” said Graham Police Chief Tony Widner. “It could be anything. We have groups that do that, but I don’t think we have any organized activity as far as gangs (are concerned).”
According to Widner, Graham doesn’t have any official gangs, and the graffiti seen around town could have been created by anyone.
“When you see that you have a tendency to think they may be gangs, but it could be anything from someone out-of-town visiting to someone that has a relative involved (in a gang) and they’re copycatting” he explained. “So we try to ID those locations and identity a pattern.”
Despite the lack of evidence for gang activity in Graham, local law enforcement remains proactive about keeping it outside the city. Officers work with schools and resource officers to follow any information that may point to gang-related activity, Wider said. But he added that due to the fact that it’s easy to get away with, vandalism is difficult to trace.
“It is one of those crimes that it doesn’t take 15 seconds to do it, and it doesn’t take any knowledge,” Widner said. “It could be anything from reckless vandalism to the worst indicators of gang activity, but not that we’ve noticed at this time.”
According to Widner, there is no real explanation for why local businesses and properties are targeted.
Read more in Wednesday's Graham Leader.