Vandalism cases on the rise

Vandalism, specifically graffiti, is on the rise at USU and in Cache Valley in general, said patrol officer Sutton Hanzalik of the USU Police Department. Tagging, stenciling and even using ketchup or dry-erase markers are all forms of graffiti that have been found recently by university police. “This is the first year where we’ve really been hit like we have in the last month and a half,” Hanzalik said. “I went to our last gang meeting a couple weeks ago and they’re up dramatically.” Hanzalik, the USUPD liaison to the Logan City Police gang task force, said a lot of the graffiti seen on campus is not gang-related. Most of the recent tags are references to social media sites. A lot of these sites are new and not as broad as Facebook, he said. They are geared towards specific preferences to things such as sneakers, rap music and street art. “All the people that are getting caught right now are still the young kids,” Hanzalik said. “They’re not 20- or 30-year-olds, they’ve grown out of it. Most of the kids are just trying to get noticed.” Capt. Steve Milne of USUPD said nine occurrences of graffiti have been reportedalready in 2011, compared to the total of 12 that occurred in all of 2010. Last week he was notified that the f-word was spray-painted on the Business Building and on an air-conditioning unit atop the Lillywhite Building. Some buildings on campus have exterior roof access, Hanzalik said, but others are only accessible from the inside of the building. “It’s not just the police that are here trying to protect the property, it’s every student kind of has a responsibility.” Milne said. “The problem is it destroys property, it takes time and funding and resources away from something else. I bet you a lot of people have either seen something going on, or know or heard somebody talking about it, and that’s the information we need coming in to us.” Graffiti is a part of rebellion for young people, Hanzalik said. The respect for other people’s personal property has been lost over the last 20-25 years, he said, and the community needs to work with police to change things. “There’s no way (police) can be somewhere 24-7,” Hanzalik said. “If you look at inner-cities, any inner-city that has changed in a positive way, it’s come through the community. It didn’t come through law enforcement.” Milne said graffiti is a form of vandalism, which is classified as criminal mischief. If caught…

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