March 27, 2017
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NOW: 44°
HI 46 / LO 37

Fix It: Graffiti on Simmons Island bridge

City stays on top of covering up taggers’ work


4
BY BRIAN PASSINO
bpassino@kenoshanews.com


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Today’s problem: KH contacted Fix It about graffiti in the Harborside area on the 50th Street bridge that connects Harborside to Simmons Island.

KH wrote, “This is the worse it has been. This tagging up the stairs is fairly new. This area gets tagged all year long. The rocks along the harbor have graffiti too. (It’s) been there all summer. You can see it from the east side of the bridge. It is such an image problem for the area. I don’t think painting over it looks much better. I just don’t understand why the city won’t consider cameras.

“The schools use them with success and I haven’t seen any tagging on the lighthouse since cameras were installed. There is a cost to paint over this and huge cost to the city’s image.” In an earlier email KH wrote, “This graffiti is a constant problem at this location.”

Observations

Fix It photographed the area Jan. 13. There was graffiti on the south side of the 50th St. bridge that connects Harborside with Simmons Island. There were several spots marked on the bridge, on the bridge’s concrete foundation and on the staircase. Some areas looked to have been painted over a while back and then tagged again. There were also graffiti markings on the west harbor channel wall. On private property there were markings on a storage pod in a parking lot to the south; next to the bridge and on a business on the east side of the bridge. The last one you have to be standing on the east end of the bridge to see.

Fix It contacted the Kenosha Police Department to ask if this was a problem location for graffiti and if it was gang-related. Fix It didn’t want to submit a photo for publication that showed any gang-related marks.

KPD responds

Lt. Tim Schaal, public information officer for the Kenosha Police, wrote “In looking at the graffiti, it appears to be ‘tagger’ graffiti as opposed to gang graffiti. In some of the photos, a crown can be seen, and while the crown is a symbol used by some street gangs, the stylized art that it accompanies is typically indicative of taggers. Taggers use stylized symbols or wording as their moniker and as a way of expressing their ‘art.’

“In some of the photos, a painted line is through the graffiti, which typically signifies one tagger disrespecting another taggers work. Taggers may also work together as part of a group or ‘set.’ They may include extra symbols, such as the three dots, to identify them as part of a set.”

Schaal wrote that the city has had graffiti at the lakefront before.

Schaal wrote, “Taggers usually target high profile areas that provide the largest audience for their work to be seen as opposed to gang graffiti that is typically used to mark local territory. Because the lakefront is a common recreation spot, taggers have often used these locations to showcase their work. Because most of our gangs in Kenosha are generally decentralized, we typically don’t have the amount of territorial gang graffiti that other cities do.”

Schall asked that city residents that see graffiti to call the Kenosha Police Department to make a report.

“Those reports are then forwarded to our Gang Crimes Unit for documentation and investigation. If the location belongs to the city, the information is also forwarded to the Department of Public Works for removal,” Schall said. “If the location is private, residents are encouraged to remove the graffiti as soon as possible after a report is made to deny the taggers publicity.”

Fix It also contacted the city of Kenosha’s Public Works Department by email on Feb. 6 to ask about the graffiti. By that time, the City had already cleaned up the bridge graffiti.

City responds

Shelly Billingsley, director of Public Works, said staff addressed the bridge graffiti before receiving the photographs from the Kenosha News.

“Staff is currently working on a budgetary figure that would include painting the bridge and then coating sections with an anti-graffiti seal coat. This budgetary number will then be proposed to the mayor in a future budget development process,” she wrote.

Billingsley wrote that graffiti shown in other photos and located on private property “were transferred to the Property Maintenance Division of the Department of Community Development and Inspection for their review.” In response to a question asking if the City has any plans to place security cameras at this location, Billingsley wrote, “Not at this time.”

Credit and thanks to: The city for being on top of the situation.

Send your ideas our way: If you have an idea for a future Fix It, please send a note to Fix It at: fixit@kenoshanews.com or call Brian Passino at 656-6330 and select option three.


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