Police Formulating Plan to Target Graffiti
The Westfield Police Department recently launched an initiative to find out who's responsible for the ongoing graffiti problem in the town.
Those who have lived in Westfield for years will tell you that graffiti has always been a problem in the town. Now the Westfield Police Department has decided to do something about it.
Those in the department recently formulated a plan to target the graffiti issue, according to Sgt. John Ricerca.
"It's an eyesore that we want to combat," he said.
Ricerca said the department decided to organize the effort after receiving numerous complaints from residents after the graffiti "artists" tagged a residential property and street signs.
One of the biggest targets throughout the years and recently has been Mindowaskin Park. The graffiti makers recently tagged the bandstand in the park.
Debby Burslem, who heads up the volunteer group Friends of Mindowaskin Park, said it's not the first time the bandstand has been painted with graffiti. But she said seeing the bandstand defaced is particularly upsetting because the Friends of Mindowaskin Park raised more than $100,000 of community donations to have the bandstand repaired five years ago.
Burslem said every time she sees graffiti in the park she files a police report. She said volunteers spend a lot of time cleaning up the graffiti, often using fine grade sand paper to wear away at the paint. Burslem said Westfield's Department of Public Works will often provide her and her volunteers with the supplies to clean.
"We try to clean up what we can. We try to educate people who are kind enough to come out to our cleanups," she said.
Police say they have no suspects and have not received any leads on who the graffiti makers may be, although they believe it's a local person or group of people.
Burslem believes it's young kids who are bored after school.
"It doesn't seem to be malicious," she said.
However, police worry that what begins as putting graffiti on signs and buildings could turn into more destructive behavior.
"How long is it going to be before they're targeting people's cars and houses?" Ricerca said.
If you have any information about who may be doing the graffiti, you can contact Westfield Police anonymously. Call 908-789-4000.