City Cameras Help Battle Graffiti and Vandalism

Deputy Chief Peter Scheets

Texas recently enacted a new law that will come down harder on graffiti vandalism. The new Texas law now makes graffiti writing a Class A or B misdemeanor and requires that criminals fully reimburse the property owner and perform 30 hours of community service if the damage (including clean up) exceeds $500.

According to the Web site “Graffiti Hurts”, the cost of graffiti vandalism is not well documented. But figures from cities across the U.S. suggest that the cost of graffiti clean up is $1-3 per each person. The site also discusses a study from the Los Angeles, Calif. County Department of Public Works which looked at 88 cities, Caltrans and Metro in Los Angles County. For 2006, that survey put the cost of graffiti removal in Los Angeles County at about $28 million.

The cost can be even higher when older monuments and historical buildings are defaced. One of the center pieces to the small Texas town of Bryan is the historic Carnegie Library. Built in 1903, the library was designed in Greek Revival style in a Greek Cross plan with a red brick fascia fronted by four enormous Greek Corinthian columns topped with acanthus leaves.

Recently vandals defaced the historic building with graffiti. According to Deputy Chief Peter Scheets of the Bryan police department the act of vandalism was caught and recorded by cameras in Bryan’s recently installed wireless security system.

“We are in the process of identifying the suspects and seeking a warrant.” said Scheets.

It sounds like a small harmless crime, but graffiti can not only cost thousand of dollars for a small city like Bryan, it can also waylay Bryan’s downtown revitalization plans and make downtown less appealing to citizens and tourists. Sometimes it’s these small saves that help public security systems more than pay for themselves.  

--PSW Staff

Carnegie Library