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Residents tired of repeated vandalism on Hutchins Street

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Posted: Thursday, September 24, 2009 10:00 pm

At the corner of Hutchins Street and Mendocino Drive, a long wooden fence with brick posts at regular intervals separates residents from the busy street. It is also a magnet for graffiti.

Some of the graffiti is vulgar, some is gang-related, and all of it is an eyesore for homeowners.

Alex Gaspar is tired of the fence and street corner being vandalized. He has lived near Hutchins Street for roughly eight years, and said the fence and sidewalk he and his neighbors share is vandalized three to five times a year.

The most recent vandalism took place Saturday night. The city of Lodi promptly responds to the vandalism and cleans it up, Gaspar said, but he wants something done that will prevent cleaning crews from having to remove graffiti several times a year.

Gaspar wants a streetlight installed by the fence. He feels it will deter vandals if the area is brighter at night.

"I'd rather see my money go to a light than cleaning this up every three or four months," he said.

One of Gaspar's neighbors, Ken Lorton, is fed up with the taggings as well. He just built a fort for his grandchildren in his backyard that is visible from the street, and is surprised it hasn't been vandalized yet.

"One of these days, it's going to get tagged," Lorton said.

Graffiti cleanup costs roughly $77 an hour total, spokesman Jeff Hood said. The effort requires a vehicle, personnel and equipment to restore vandalized property. Hood said the crews can be out there anywhere from a half-hour to all day. However, he said most jobs take about an hour-and-a-half to remove all traces of vandalism.

Several homes whose backyards face Hutchins Street have motion-sensitive lights. However, these lights only illuminate the yards themselves and do not light the street very well.

Hood said a streetlight in the area would cost $10,300. That cost would cover the survey crew, the light itself and installation.

"It takes up to three weeks from the order to install the streetlight," Hood said. He said the job would require workers to use jackhammers to create trenches and then pour the concrete.

Hood said the residents could talk to Lodi Electric Utility directly and offer to pay for the light. "Others have paid for streetlights," he said. "Residents pass the hat and pay for the installation."

Hood said the electricity would still have to be paid for. Lodi's electric utility pays $1.2 million annually for electricity for streetlights, that an extra streetlight would slightly change how the electricity is distributed.

"It's a small amount in the big scheme of things, but it's an amount," Hood said.

Hood did not say rates would necessarily rise from the installation of one streetlight, but that the city would have to account for its usage.

Gaspar said he would rather try his luck at a City Council meeting than raise the money among his neighbors. He said it would cost his neighbors around $2,000 each to get the light installed.

"Now is not a good time for that," he said. "The city should be on top of it."

As for graffiti suspects, "Sur 13" is one of the most frequent taggings in the repeated vandalism. It references the Surenos, a Mexican gang that has roots in Southern California and the Mexican Mafia.

The Mexican Mafia was founded in the 1950s at Deuel Vocational Institution in Tracy. The Mexican Mafia influences the Surenos, but they are still allowed independence.

The Surenos identify themselves with the number 13 because M is the 13th letter of the alphabet and represents their affiliation with the Mexican Mafia. The Sureno gangs are present in all 50 states and other countries.

Detective Eric Bradley of the Lodi Police Department said the three most common Sureno sets in Lodi are the Varrio Mojado Surenos (VMS), the Playboy Surenos (PBS) and the Pobre Side Locos (PSL). The graffiti from the most recent incident is all done in blue spray paint, the gang's color of choice.

Bradley said the Sureno sets in Lodi generally get along, although there has been territorial feuding from time to time. He said it is usually resolved quickly.

"It's usually over a girl," he said.

Contact Jordan Guinn at jordang@lodinews.com

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13 comments:

  • posted at 11:51 am on Fri, Sep 25, 2009.

    Posts:

    maybe everyone in the community should take turns holding a flashlight instead of paying for a street light ... It'd be far less expensive (everyone could afford to donate some batteries,I'm sure) It would build ties within the community, and the city wouldn't have to waste tax payers dollars for silly things such as street lights... I mean, there's more important things to do with those tax dollars, right? Like educate the community that gang members come in all colors and a majority of those kiddies are american citizens? Or supply those taggers with a strong role model (a big brother type), so our streets don't have to deal with the burden of that attention seeking behavior? Seems logical, right?

     
  • posted at 11:17 am on Fri, Sep 25, 2009.

    Posts:

    Forastronglodi-Is there anything else I need to open your eyes on? Wake up!They're not here to pick our fruit anymore. They're here to rape, rob, steal, deal drugs, and take advantage of good hearted people like you. Stop burying your head in the sand.You want a strong Lodi? Get rid of the illegals. CLOSE THE BORDER NOW!

     
  • posted at 11:13 am on Fri, Sep 25, 2009.

    Posts:

    forastronglodi-Here you go -"Nationally, Hispanics are thought to comprise 49 percent of total gang membership. A majority of these gang members are illegal immigrants. Notes Duplin County Sheriff Blake Wallace (D), “There is an increasing gang activity problem, particularly with MS-13 and studies have shown that the majority of those gang members are illegal aliens.”9 Among these studies is a report published by the Governor’s Crime Commission which posits that 66 percent of Hispanic/Latino gang members are illegal aliens.10 In the case of MS-13, one of the most violent and powerful gangs in North Carolina, federal authorities estimate that “approximately 90 percent of U.S. MS-13 members are foreign-born illegal aliens and depend upon the Texas-Mexico border smuggling corridor to support their criminal operations.”11 As Forsyth County District Attorney Tom Keith (R) puts it, “You cannot say ‘drugs’ without saying ‘gangs’ without saying ‘illegal aliens.’”http://www.nccivitas.org/media/publication-archive/perspective/illegal-immigration-drugs-gangs-and-crime

     
  • posted at 9:38 am on Fri, Sep 25, 2009.

    Posts:

    Galtguy wrote on Sep 25, 2009 12:39 PM:" One more thing, you couldn't be more wrong about the make up of the gangs. Look it up on the ICE website. Upwards of 2/3's are illegals. "How can you tell?

     
  • posted at 9:35 am on Fri, Sep 25, 2009.

    Posts:

    Galtguy wrote "4astronglodi- What's uncalled for is your crack about Galt. Get off your high Lodian horse and realize that Lodi is Galt with a Walmart and Grape Bowl."Lol! Now, that was funny! :-)

     
  • posted at 9:32 am on Fri, Sep 25, 2009.

    Posts:

    American Teenagers know better then to "Tag"! Well more do then Illegal Taggers that's for sure!

     
  • posted at 7:05 am on Fri, Sep 25, 2009.

    Posts:

    Please folks, although Nick is needed all over town to cover up Graffiti, "Calling WILL get your area on the list to be removed. Please Call: Graffiti Abatement at 333-5570 and leave a message. Keep in mind the City NEEDS written permission from the property owner to cover up or remove Graffiti on private property.

     
  • posted at 7:02 am on Fri, Sep 25, 2009.

    Posts:

    The cost to remove the graffiti is why "I volunteer a few hours a week to cover up graffiti I see in Lodi, and I know many places that taggers tag, so I just go back and cover it up! Many are NOT gang members but "Wanna be copycats who think it is cool to TAG!" The biggest problem is "Lack of a witness", and if there is a witness "Apathy" or fear the tagger/gang will retaliate against them! I have met Nick and he does the best he can to keep up with the taggers and I truly feel tagging in Lodi is far less widespread then in Stockton!Imagine if only (1) person per block spent a few moments to cover up useless graffiti from one end of Lodi to the other! Yes it is a "Dream"....but still what a difference it would make. The community owns this town not taggers!I am glad Lodi has someone on their payroll like Nick!I will continue to help Nick & the community out as best I can!There is virtually NO Punishment for tagging... That is the Primary reason taggers do not stop!

     
  • posted at 5:23 am on Fri, Sep 25, 2009.

    Posts:

    Galtguy - Your racism is not appreciated here. I'm shocked that you live in Galt...couldn't have seen that coming.Unfortuntaely we can't deport these gang members because most of them are American citizens. Maybe if people like Galtguy stopped spreading his racist ideas, they might feel like there is a chance for them to make a positive impact on society. However, just because their skin isn't white and they have latin name, they have to face racist comments and prejudice, when they've been U.S. citiznes their whole life. It can't make life feel too postiive for them. They go where they are accepted for who they are, which unfortunately is in a gang.

     
  • posted at 4:28 am on Fri, Sep 25, 2009.

    Posts:

    I'm glad I moved out of lodi a few years ago. As for putting up a street light, that will NOT work. They will tag the street light pole. Some cities are having success with cameras. So maybe that might be a solution. As far as the selling Paint to known gang members, businesses can't sell paint to anyone under 18 years of age. Most underage gang members get paint out of their parents garage. So i dont have a solution for that.

     
  • posted at 3:57 am on Fri, Sep 25, 2009.

    Posts:

    I lived in this area for 16 years and saw the decline. After the grandmother was murdered down the street, I sold my house and moved to the north west side of town. Best decision I ever made

     
  • posted at 3:30 am on Fri, Sep 25, 2009.

    Posts:

    My husband and I walk quite frequently in the Hutchens St Square area, and a few inches in to the south of the sign facing Hutchins St is/maybe was, gang tagging. I never bothered to phone because the city doesn't always jump on it right away. We had some tagging in our neighborhood and I phoned about it and nothing was done about it at all. I called a second time, still nothing was done and as far as I know, the tagging is still on the sidewalk. In fact, for the longest time, there has been tagging on a utility pole on Kettleman Ln right in front of Boston Market. Anyways, I guess it must be where the tagging is located in order for action to be taken? I don't know. But, it sure is an eyesore. I know this would be a pain in the neck, but all businesses that sell spray paint should have a registry of known gang bangers and their contacts, family, etc. so that when somebody goes to buy the stuff, they have to show an ID. That might curb this type of behavior.

     
  • posted at 3:04 am on Fri, Sep 25, 2009.

    Posts:

    Mr HoodIt's never a good time for the city. Twenty years ago when I bought my home there was a group of teenagers running amok in the neighborhood. We went to the city and were told "oh the city cant't afford it."So one by one we did our own lighting. About a year and and a half after we finished, guess what? The city installed a street light. By then it wasn't even needed.

     

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