Tempe Councilman Granville suggests system for evaluating graffiti response
By Harmony Huskinson The Republic | azcentral.com Fri Feb 15, 2013 10:41 AM
Councilman Colby Granville said that while the Tempe Police and Public Works departments do an excellent job of responding to reported graffiti, areas of the city with low responses remain an issue.
“It’s no help to the residents to say, ‘Had you called, we would have fixed it,’ ” Granville said at Tuesday’s council Neighborhoods and Education Committee meeting.
Therefore, he said, the city should develop a system in which the levels of graffiti are measured, and then an “acceptable level” of graffiti is determined.
Next, the City Council would approve a system in which city workers or volunteers would remove graffiti in problem areas and maintain this acceptable level across the city.
Granville and City Councilman Joel Navarro agreed that a specific question about graffiti should be added to the city’s customer-satisfaction surveys and more information should be gathered from self-reports.
But they will discuss Granville’s proposal with the rest of the council in a strategy session where members will discuss whether graffiti should be statistically sampled.
Tempe Police Chief Tom Ryff said the city does proactively address graffiti because several departments work together to combat it. He added that these departments use tracking systems to compile graffiti data, which would be a problem in Granville’s proposed system.
The city released a 311 app on Jan. 14 in which residents can report graffiti. It has been taking 311 phone calls for graffiti since January 2011. The 311 systems have increased graffiti responses and removal, said John Osgood, deputy director of Public Works.
In 2012, there were 1,140 reports of graffiti in Tempe, the majority in alleyways and public rights-of-way.
Councilman Joel Navarro said he does not see the need for graffiti removal as immediate, adding that graffiti calls have dropped dramatically.
“It’s a lot of resources going out there, to do what?” Navarro said.
Navarro said that before the council takes any more action against graffiti it should measure the success of the 311 app. Navarro added that if this proposed system was implemented, he is not sure who would patrol city areas for graffiti.
Granville said the council would discuss those details in a strategy session.
“I’m not even trying to get rid of (graffiti). I’m trying to decide what an acceptable amount is and how we get to the acceptable amount, because I don’t think we’re at the acceptable amount,” Granville said.
The committee also discussed its actions against loud ASU fraternity parties in residential neighborhoods and the emergency-response system in local schools.
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