Homes, vehicles on Grand Rapids’ west side tagged with graffiti

Posted at 5:42 PM, Aug 17, 2015
and last updated 2015-08-17 17:42:21-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Grand Rapids police say cleaning up graffiti is an ongoing project for the city. But it's one that can only be done if victims notify the city immediately.

Take a quick walk around Escott, Myrtle and Webster avenues on Grand Rapids' west side, and it won't take long to notice someone had a little too much time on their hands early Monday morning.

"I've never seen anything like this," resident Dick Sedlecky said.

"At 4 o' clock in the morning, I heard a couple kids," he said. "I thought they were just riding their bikes down the street. [I] never really looked out and just came home for lunch, and it's all over the side of the houses."

The vandalism doesn't stop there. Neighbors near Richmond Park said they woke up to find what appear to be gang signs spray-painted on their sidewalks, garages, homes, and vehicles.

At one of the tagging sites, another neighbor found an old pill bottle on the ground with a baggie of what looks like marijuana inside. It's not clear if this belonged to the culprits, but we turned it over to Grand Rapids Police as possible evidence.​

The people living around there say this is uncharacteristic for the area.

"But a few kids and a spray paint can can cause a decent amount of damage, as you can see," GRPD Lt. Patrick Merrill said.

Cleaning up graffiti is a never ending battle for the city, Merrill said. One woman who owns a travel trailer that was tagged said she cleaned off the graffiti herself. Rubbing alcohol did the job for that particular surface.

Police said this kind of thing usually happens on property in poorly lit areas, but the owner of the trailer parked it right under a street light.

"Every city of substance has this problem," Merrill explained. "It's an important problem. It's something you want to get on top of right away. If you let those kind of markings take over your neighborhood, you're really surrendering control."

The lieutenant said people can turn to the city's 311 app for help with cleanup. "You can actually do quick graffiti reporting. Snap a photo of the graffiti. Say that's what it is, and they do a great job of cleaning that up."

The 311 app can be downloaded onto your smart phone. You can also dial 311 on your phone to report vandalism and get help cleaning it up.

Neighbors said a police officer was called out to the block Monday morning. The officer found a bottle of spray paint and took a report.