PITTSBURG —  Several sightings of graffiti or tagging are popping up in the Pittsburg area.

Areas affected include the Watco Trail, a structure on the corner of West Rose and Broadway, trash cans, 4th Street overpass and other property throughout the community.

The Pittsburg Police Department is encouraging residents to continue to report on the vandalism. PPD Deputy Chief Tim Tompkins said the department is making a concerted effort to identify the individuals marking up area businesses, residents and city property.

To do this, Tompkins said it’s important to contact the police department even though a bit of spray paint seems to be a “trivial thing.”
“You may have a small spray painting on your garage, but your garage, neighbors garage, poles on the hiking trail, we start adding it together,” he said, adding punishment for graffiti or tagging is based on damage assessment, the more properties damaged the higher the punishment levels. The punishments range from misdemeanor to felony offenses.

A collection of reports helps assess the target area and could possibly lead to the individuals making the crime, it is not a bother to the police, Tompkins said.
“What may seem trivial to you could be important information for us,” Tompkins said. “That’s truly why we are here, to respond to the needs of the community.”

Assessing the target area could make a difference on how the police department deploys resources and how they respond, Tompkins said.

Tompkins said the department’s crime analyst is currently looking into areas which have been targeted and so far, the police department has not been able to associate the graffiti with criminal groups.

“This is an issue we want to address with the Downtown facade grants and rehabbing old buildings downtown and sprucing things up,” Tompkins said adding people spray painting could be a detractor for people driving through the city.

Pittsburg Public Information Manager Sarah Runyon said although the graffiti is an “irritant” because it requires the city and local property owners to do additional maintenance, the “impact on overall development is minimal.”
“It’s low on the list of things that impact development,” she said. “We are fortunate to have excellent investigative resources at the Police Department and we are confident in their ability to catch whoever is responsible.
“We also have a very caring and engaged community that is willing to help.”

The United Way will be working with the Pittsburg Parks & Recreation Department this summer with plans to repaint some of the city’s facilities affected by the graffiti.

According to the Frontenac, Girard and Arma Police Departments, they have not seen an increase in reports of graffiti in their respective areas. Cherokee Police Department could not be reached to confirm whether or not its area has had an increase.