When graffiti happens, homeowners and business owners are normally the ones left to clean up the mess.
However, a unique partnership between the Payson Police and Gila County Probation departments is putting juveniles on probation to work.
On Aug. 17, a work crew of juveniles painted over graffiti on a wall behind the Bashas’ Shopping Center. Using donated painting supplies, the juveniles made quick work of the taggings.
This is the first of many projects to combat graffiti in the community, Police Chief Don Engler said.
For the last two years, the PPD has been trying to start a Graffiti Abatement Program and it was not until recently that the project finally came to fruition.
“Due to the recent assistance of the Gila County Probation Department, under the direction of Kendall Rhyne, we have had success in our first project,” Engler said. “The PPD would also like to express appreciation to the local businesses that have supported the program, including Payson Paint, Neumann Paint, Ace Hardware, Walmart and Home Depot.”
Graffiti has been a growing problem in the community with businesses and signs a common target, Engler said.
In the last six weeks, officers arrested four juveniles on criminal damage charges stemming from taggings.
None of the teens appear to be part of a gang or even friends with each other, Engler said. If you observe graffiti or anyone involved in this type of activity, report it anonymously by calling (928) 468-8477.