Lodinews.com

default avatar
Welcome to the site! Login or Signup below.
|
||
Logout|My Dashboard

Gang members tag Legion Park with graffiti — again

Police suspect vandalism may be sign that Sureños are trying to claim park

Print
Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Wednesday, July 31, 2013 12:00 am

For the second night in a row, gang members defaced buildings, sidewalks and other surfaces around Lodi’s American Legion Park.

And the city is upset.

Earlier story

Police and city staff are looking at an array of options to minimize the problem. But while they look for new solutions, they have a promise for those responsible: “We’re going to step things up,” said Jeff Hood, Lodi’s Park, Recreation and Cultural Services director, “and we’re going to catch the people doing this.”

Police believe Sureño gang members have been responsible for all the recent graffiti at Legion Park. However, it’s the only park that’s seen a recent spike in gang-related vandalism, Lodi Police Sgt. Tim Fritz said.

“It’s unusual in the sense that it’s been picking up to this extent,” Fritz said. “We’ll see it periodically, but it will ease back down. But for whatever reason, someone has picked this park and set their mind to putting up as much graffiti as possible.”

The typical targets for gangs are Samuel D. Salas, Hale and Blakely parks, Fritz said.

But now that one gang seems to have chosen new turf, police are trying to prevent the spree from continuing.

Vandals struck despite increased police presence around the park Monday night and early Tuesday morning. But Fritz said police haven’t considered staking out the park throughout a night, yet.

Hood said the city is tired of seeing its park vandalized.

“(The graffiti is) probably worse this time around than it’s been since I’ve been here,” he said. “And we’re getting fed up.”

City officials met Monday with a security company to discuss installing security cameras around the park.

The city is also considering adding lights and painting the brick bathroom structure, which would make graffiti easier to remove.

“It’s not something we’re going to solve overnight,” he said. “It’s a societal problem. You can’t prevent it, but we’ll minimize it.”

Graffiti has long been a problem in Stockton, said Officer Joseph Silva, spokesman for the Stockton Police Department.

“Historically we’ve always had graffiti here in Stockton, whether it’s in parks, vacant buildings or alleyways,” he said.

As it has worsened, Stockton created a graffiti hotline, which citizens can call when they spot graffiti or see vandalism in progress.

Silva added that some businesses have pooled their money in order to purchase security cameras, and with that footage, police have been able to arrests vandals.

In recent years, graffiti occurs at a steady rate, and it’s found all over Stockton.

“Unfortunately, you do see tags all throughout the city,” Silva said.

On Tuesday morning, for the second day in a row, Nick Romero spent hours trying to remove paint from several surfaces around Legion Park. Romero cleans graffiti as part of Lodi’s graffiti abatement program, which receives nearly $65,000 annually.

Hood said it’s not uncommon for the park to be tagged multiple days in a row, but given the extent of the recent graffiti, Lodi will move quickly to fight this problem.

“It’s disappointing, but it’s not discouraging,” Hood said. “We’ll figure something out.”

Contact reporter Kristopher Anderson at krisa@lodinews.com.

More about

More about

More about

Rules of Conduct

  • 1 Use your real name. You must register with your full first and last name before you can comment. (And don't pretend you're someone else.)
  • 2 Keep it clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually oriented language.
  • 3 Don't threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
  • 4 Be truthful. Don't lie about anyone or anything. Don't post unsubstantiated allegations, rumors or gossip that could harm the reputation of a person, company or organization.
  • 5 Be nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
  • 6 Stay on topic. Make sure your comments are about the story. Don't insult each other.
  • 7 Tell us if the discussion is getting out of hand. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
  • 8 Share what you know, and ask about what you don't.

Welcome to the discussion.

Video

Popular Stories

Poll

Should graduations return to the Grape Bowl?

Lodi Unified leaders are moving Lodi and Tokay high school graduations from the Grape Bowl to the Spanos Center at UOP in Stockton. They cite limited seating, costs and unpredictable weather at the Grape Bowl. But others say graduations at the Grape Bowl are an important Lodi tradition, and one reason many supported renovating the stadium. What do you think?

Total Votes: 67

Loading…

Mailing List

Subscribe to a mailing list to have daily news sent directly to your inbox.

  • Breaking News

    Would you like to receive breaking news alerts? Sign up now!

  • News Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily news headlines? Sign up now!

  • Sports Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily sports headlines? Sign up now!

Manage Your Lists