Graffiti defacing property has been turning up this summer in some very prominent places in Montclair, including on a building directly across the street from the Montclair Police station and on Boiling Springs Bank at Watchung Plaza.
Today, the Township announced that business and civic leaders have joined forces with Montclair to fight the problem by donating funds to create a “Stamp Out Graffiti! reward program.” The program will offer a $500 reward to anyone providing information that leads to the arrest of graffiti vandals whose tags appear with the greatest frequency.
The tags are pictured below.
The program will also provide $250 for information that leads to the arrest of any other graffiti vandals effacing properties in the community. Those committing such acts will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law – the Police Department is actively investigating and prosecuting all reported acts of graffiti.
How does the program work? In order to properly ID a suspect, the Police would either need a clear photo or video from which identification can be made; a license plate of a vehicle that may be used by the suspect and that may belong to the suspect; forensic evidence, such as fingerprints, blood, saliva that was left at scene; or a witness that can identify the individual based on previous knowledge. A good description that could be used in a composite drawing is also a useful tool. Descriptors such as age, gender, height, weight, hair color, hair length, use of glasses, wearing jewelry, wearing a cap or scarf, hat, other clothing or footwear description, ethnicity, facial features, beard, moustache, tattoos.
Anyone who can provide information that will identify graffiti vandals who use the tags below or if you have information on any other acts of graffiti vandalism contact the Police Tips line at 973 509-4708.
First Ward Councilor Bill Hurlock, who with help of volunteers removed graffiti from stop signs, benches and other locations during his First Ward Clean Up/Beautification Day, says graffiti is a costly problem and that vandalism can be the gateway to more serious crime.
“There’s a huge cost to the town in terms of resources when we have to send public works to clean up graffiti as well as substances to purchase for removal,” says Hurlock, who adds that he would be in favor of a program where offenders are engaged in community service to clean up graffiti as part of their punishment.