March 2-PAC: Graffitiissues/Graffiti busting

The meeting was called to order at 6:08 by Chair, Larry Ranallo.  23 attenders.

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:    “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:  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).

When graffiti is reported, Solid Waste and Recycling crews are sent a work order to take photos of the graffiti.  Graffiti on a public right of way is removed by city crews.  The Traffic Dept replaces their signs when the front is no longer reflective but anyone may remove a tag from the back of a stop sign.  The City is not allowed to remove graffiti from Federal property nor from property owned by the railroads.

Graffiti on private property is handled differently:  owners are given seven days to remove reported graffiti;  if there are mitigating circumstances,  that time can be extended.  For example, some surfaces can’t be treated in cold or wet weather, other graffiti might be too large to handle  in a short time or may be out of reach for that owner.  The city does have a contractor who can remove most graffiti for a fee.  The Fire Stations have removal chemicals, and Sani-Master/Graffiti Solutions can sell their commercial chemicals.

Norma Pietz reported on the successful graffiti removal program that has been working for 10 years, organized by the Lyndale Neighborhood Assn.
Ten years ago the association got a small grant which got them started.  Ms Pietz conducts a normal job application-interview-hiring process, looking for two people who can work together and are interested in part time summer jobs.  Her hires are paid $10/hour and work 12-15 hours/week during the summer months.

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.

At this point Michelle and Norma began sharing supplies details.  It’s true that the Fire Depts have removers, but those removers are oil based and leave a stain that is slow to disappear.  However,  Lyndale uses a chemical from Ace Hdwr called TSW (“This Stuff Works” ) that they strongly recommend.  It also turns out that the city has some paints for coverup (because some paint can NOT be removed) which Lyndale didn’t know about.

We all learned a lot.

State of the Precinct:  Lt. Mike Sanden once again came to report on the state of the precinct, but had to leave to start his shift.  He did remind us that the Second Precinct Annual Open House is Monday, May 15, from 4-7 PM in the parking lot at 1911 Central Ave NE.  There will be stations from many special forces, including the Bomb Unit, the dispatch Emergency Communications Center, K-9s, and more.  Grilled burgers and hotdogs with lots of sides, P&P Popcorn, and a drawing for 6 kids bikes.

COURTWATCH:  Deb  Russell from the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office report:

Cody Corbin violated probation, hearing April 18; Jason Enrico is in custody in Dakota County b/c bench warrant issued in Feb. 16, he is charged with check forgery and 5th degree drug possession;  Kevin Foster has a hearing on April 4; Johnny Hall, bench warrant on Feb. 10, Daniel Heacock has a hearing on April4; Paula Heille, bench warrant issued on January 18; Mahad Ismail, pre-trial hearing on March 15; curtis Laroqueis on probation to 11/04/18 and a 2/24/17 charge was dismissed; Albert Moen, benchwarrant issued 1/09/17; Dae Nisell is not in custody and has 2 open cases re; violation of restraining orders and domestics; Ryan Pilarski, hearing on 3.30; Ashley Sage remains in treatment, and has a courtdate on March 15.

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.

Dropped: Bryan Holmes has successfully finished probation on March 1. 2017.

Added to the list:
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.
3) Kristopher Canty: Domestic disorderly conduct, (History:  7 arrests in 3 years mostly domestic related, but also motor vehicle tampering)
4)  Michael Zaccardi returns to the list for a theft from the Quarry.  He was removed from our list in January of this year.



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