Our speakers represented three perspectives on Graffiti: MPD, City Services, Neighborhood activism.
Sgt. Kara Parker from 5th Precinct Property Crimes Division opened by stating that when the MPD gets reports of damage (unauthorized paint) they first determine if the paint is actual “gang” signs or just tagging. Most of the graffiti we see in our neighborhoods is not gang based. Currently, most of the gang signs are in the 3rd precinct, and ID’d as Hispanic American or Native American gang signs. There is not much activity in Minneapolis by the coastal gangs we read about (Crips and Bloods), nor from groups like the KKK. The shift is to social media, and the more the gangs use social media to communicate, the less “gang” paint we’ll see on our walls and streets. It’s important to let the city know when any tags appear, though, because they do want to keep track of what is being painted and where it’s going up. WHY ARE GANG SIGNS DANGEROUS?: Gang signs mark territory; they are an open threat to anyone coming in who might appear to be from a different gang.
Understand that graffiti is communication, whether it’s a gang member marking the perimeter of that gang’s territory, or it’s a tagger saying “Look at me!” One tagger’s story got City Pages coverage: http://www.citypages.com/news/sisyphus-brewings-sweet-mural-ruined-by-uninspired-vandal-7946882 “Konqr” has done some $100,000 worth of damage in Cincinnati, but in late 2016, he defaced a Minneapolis mural which cost $6000 (crowd sourced); cost of repair was $1500. Konqr has tagged across the U.S. and in Puerto Rico; Kongr is currently thought to be in Louisville.
What to look for: Taggers usually move in groups as small as 2 because it’s good to have someone to help haul the gear and to watch for watchers. As 2-PAC attenders have heard so often, if something doesn’t look right, take down a description, a location, and report it. 311 Online requests a photo if you can send one. Add location, gender, clothes, shoes, race, height, build, anything you can note. A squad probably will not show up unless you can report that the tagger is still painting. All reports, however, are entered in a database to track crime trends.
Sgt Parker brought along handouts of photos she’d harvested from the internet, showing gang tags and graffiti tags. She also brought a 6-page summary on types of graffiti: gang vs tagger, degree of sophistication, where and when to look for taggers, and how to protect your property. [I can send you all of this by email if you contact me. In the mean time, the following gives a few pointers, echoing Sgt. Parker’s hand out: https://ink-and-paint.wonderhowto.com/how-to/identify-gang-graffiti-p1-0127625/ The biggest point is that “gang taggers” value speed and space over quality, while “social taggers” often work for higher quality. All of them want attention.–EQ]
Our second speaker, Michelle Howard, is the Minneapolis Clean City Coordinator.
Murals are only legal when done with permission of the property owner. These are registered with the city, and the design must meet a level of approval (no obscenities or patented commercials logos).
Over the years they’ve settled on the following procedure: Two people work together during the (cooler) morning and use a wagon to haul supplies. Driving does not work. They have a map of Lyndale so the workers can efficiently cover the whole area. When they spot a tag, they first complete a form giving a complete description that meets the needs of the Clean City Dept if the city has to act on the complaint. If the tag is on public property where they can take the tag off, the Lyndale Graffiti Busters do that. If it’s on private property, Ms. Pietz, first contacts the property owner for approval to remove graffiti. If it can’t be removed and the owner gives approval to paint over, then they are asked to purchase the paint and the Graffiti Bsters will paint over (just the graffiti) for no charge.
No updates: Kenneth Nelson had an omnibus hearing on 3/07 but the report had not been posted yet; Robert Schroeder; Jason Tucker remains in custodyr.
1) Sharkina Marie Nickens has 3 citations: Felony Burglary and Felony theft for entering the apartments of a legally blind victim in SAE, stealing the person’s wallet and using their credit card. She also has a charge of giving a police officer a false name, giving a second police officer the name of another person and failing to pay cab fare.
2) Steven Wayne Haney (lives in Marshall terrace) two charges of 1st degree drug sale and 1st degree possession of drugs, a warrant turned up meth and a “large” amount of U.S. currency.