DENVER (CBS4)– Graffiti related to President Donald Trump cost Denver taxpayers close to $22,000 since last November’s election, according to the Denver Police Department.
Police report a dramatic increase in political graffiti over the last six months.
The City of Denver has spent about $30,000 cleaning up political graffiti since the election. A total of $21,790 of that has gone to clean up graffiti that references the president.
“Punch your local Trump supporter,” “Kill yr local Nazi,” and “Kill Trump” are just a few of the messages scrawled on wooden planks that East High School students Kailea Briones and Rikkiana Rogers walk past every day on their lunch break.
“Yeah, he’s a bad person, but I don’t think he deserves to be killed or anything,” Rogers said in an interview with CBS4’s Melissa Garcia.
“I do think that some of it is outrageous, but I think some people are just trying to get their voice out. And I think that’s important too,” Briones said.
Since Mr. Trump became president, city crews have been called out to abate political banter 214 times.
More than 150 of those cleanups were for graffiti specifically related to the country’s new leader. Vandals sprayed it across nearly 1,700 square feet.
“It’s a blight to our city,” said George Gray, a detective in the Denver Police Department’s graffiti unit.
He said the graffiti was not just an eyesore, but also caused harm by inciting fear in neighborhoods. It has even spurred on physical fights, Gray said.
“If you see it in progress, definitely call the police, because you don’t know who you’re dealing with,” Gray said, of the vandals.
A DPD graffiti tracker map shows that graffiti is happening all over the city but is especially concentrated in southwest and central Denver.
“It’s a waste,” said Stephen Barlock, who headed up the Trump Campaign in Colorado.
“I’m all for free speech,” Barlock said. “(But) please do peaceful protests. And don’t destroy property. Don’t promote violence.”
“We need to keep our city clean and maintain a good environment,” added Gardenia Martinez, another student at East High School.
Police ask anyone who spots graffiti to call 311 right away to report it. A cleanup crew will come out and remove the graffiti for free, even on private property.
Officers also urge victims to file a formal police report. Taggers are often habitual criminals responsible for additional crimes, police said.