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Sunnyside looks at ways to tackle graffiti

An observation by a Sunnyside resident sparked a discussion about graffiti during Monday night's city council meeting.

Don Outhet told council he saw red X marks made on six trees in Central Park. Outhet said he noticed the marks on Sunday and wondered if it meant those trees would be removed as others were last summer.

Public Works Director Jim Bridges said staff has not marked additional trees and that the city was actually warned by an arborist not to mark any more trees due to potential liability issues.

That prompted discussion that the marks were likely graffiti. That prompted council member Bill Gant to ask what could be done to combat the crime of graffiti that he said he sees around the city.

Police Chief Ed Radder recounted the city's recent success in capturing two adults on charges of graffiti, with the possibility that the two could be sent to jail for a year. He called the incarceration a "message" to other would-be graffiti criminals.

In addition, Radder said the city is working on better technology in catching those committing graffiti crimes.

Radder also said the city is working on "better tools to remove graffiti."

Speaking of removing graffiti, Radder noted that efforts are underway to reflect the true costs of graffiti crimes in an attempt to increase the severity of the charges.

Radder also noted the city is working on an "ordinance to go after the parents for the costs of the (graffiti) damage."

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