Those who report graffiti vandals could end up with some extra cash.
Minneapolis is offering up to $500 to anyone who has a tip that leads to the arrest and conviction of a vandal. The city launched the program in June after partnering with residents, businesses and local organizations whose donations will be pooled with money from the Minnesota Paint Council to pay for rewards.
“Graffiti diminishes the livability of our neighborhoods and is a public safety problem because it gives the impression crime is tolerated in an area,” read a city press release about the effort.
Graffiti investigator Sgt. Giovanni Veliz of the Minneapolis Police Department’s 5th Precinct said he was unsure whether the program would work, but he was optimistic.
“Any type of tool is welcome in the reduction of graffiti,” he said.
Former private graffiti investigator Don Davis, of Minneapolis, said he wasn’t so sure. He said tipsters should be rewarded for identifying vandals or leading to their arrest. Convictions are too rare, he said, so some citizens might go through a lengthy court process with the hopes of getting a reward and end up with nothing.
In another attempt to crack down on graffiti, the City Council voted last month to reduce the amount of time residents have to remove graffiti from their property from 10 days to seven days. If graffiti is not cleaned up on time, the city will clean it and bill the resident.
The city spends more than $1 million on graffiti abatement each year and estimates that more than 400 vandals are out creating graffiti on any given night.
For more information about the reward program or the city’s graffiti abatement efforts, visit www.anti-graffiti.org.