Graffiti maker at large doing much damage--public alert and appeal

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The following was researched and presented by an alert HPKCC board member pursuant to discussion of the matter at the February 2006 Conference Board of Directors meeting.

One or more persons have been tagging buildings with "Lizards" and "Azote Lizards" and bubbly "TOPS". I did some checking and the University Police are not only aware of the issue, but have been very frustrated by this. They have a suspect, an ex-U of C student, but they've been unable to catch him in the act.

The police would like any help they can get in apprehending this miscreant. He's done thousands of dollars of property damage, not only spray painting the outsides of buildings and sidewalks and mailboxes, but even carving his tags into wood on building interiors. It's extremely important that he be caught and prosecuted and we should urge our neighbors to cooperate with the police on this matter-- calling the police if he's caught in the act, filing police reports (call the U of C police at 702-8181) and testifying in court. The chance that this vandal will stop on his own out of sudden sense of guilt is rather low, so prosecuting him is our best option.

Also, it's important that Hyde Park property owners get the graffiti cleaned off their buildings. As you may know, the City of Chicago has been a leader in graffiti removal and anyone can call the city's Graffiti Blasters at 312-744-1234 and report incidences. According to their website, the property owner will be notified and then given 5 days to object to its removal. After that, the city will blast if off. Graffiti Blasters will want the address of the property, a description of the type of surface marred by the graffiti and whether or not it's more than six feet off the ground (so they can bring out a tower). The longer graffiti stays up, the more inviting Hyde Park is for taggers.

James Withrow