Police: graffiti vandalism increasing in Eau Claire

By: Aaron Dimick Email
By: Aaron Dimick Email

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- You’ve seen it popping up all over our area. Now, graffiti vandals are attacking the city of Eau Claire with their illegal and sometimes inappropriate artwork.

WEAU 13 News spoke with the city’s street maintenance manager about the graffiti problem that’s ballooned over the past year.

“Probably since the end of August there has been an increase in the amount of graffiti, especially on our traffic signs,” said Eau Claire Street Maintenance Manager Steve Thompson.

Thompson said bridges, parks and tunnels have been targets of graffiti artists looking to leave their vandalous mark on the city.

Officer Jesse Henning of the Eau Claire Police Department said over the past year the department has received 143 reports of the colorful crime.

Henning said that’s nearly double the number of reports in 2010.

Since graffiti vandals often leave the same symbol or “tag”, Henning believes the markings are being drawn by serial artists.

“Down on the Water Street area there has been basically the same message, same style,” Thompson said.

Thompson said cleaning up the graffiti has taken up more than 150 hours so far this year.

He said that’s precious time city employees could have used on other projects.

“When we get into the tunnels and under bridges, we try to paint over that. Some of the cases we have to pressure wash it and sand blast it off,”

The street maintenance manager said the city uses a special chemical to get paint off of signs, but sometimes they have to be replaced.

“We try to minimize that expense because the cheapest sign we have is $33 without labor,” Thompson said.

The Eau Claire Police Dept. said it has several suspects on more than 20 graffiti cases.

It warns graffiti is a misdemeanor that can bring fines and jail time.

“Some of it is very graphic and it needs to be cleaned up right away. Hopefully the people who are doing it get the hint that we're going to keep cleaning it up and it's not worth their time to put it up,” Thompson said.

Henning said officers have been increasing patrols in targeted areas.

If you have any information about graffiti crimes, call Eau Claire Police at (715) 839-4972.

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  • by Monalisa Location: Chippewa Falls on Nov 21, 2011 at 07:57 PM
    Instead of city employees using their time and taxpayers money, have a Judge assign the clean up of the graffiti as a community service to people who are sentence with community service. Saving both time and money.
    • reply
      by agree on Nov 22, 2011 at 01:15 PM in reply to Monalisa
      That is a great idea! Why should someone else clean up the mess some little gangsta wannabe makes? Makes perfect sense to have them do it.
  • by Name Location: EC on Nov 21, 2011 at 04:01 PM
    Looks like an amateur tattoo artist who can only ink names
  • by Skimask on Nov 21, 2011 at 01:54 PM
    We the youth are very powerful people. U need to get with the times you are NOT in control of what we do. Were running the show for the future. Not you. Welcome to our generation hahahaha!
    • reply
      by John on Nov 21, 2011 at 05:08 PM in reply to Skimask
      No son...Knowledge is power,and from what I see, I don't believe there will be a take over any time soon.
    • reply
      by hmmmm on Nov 22, 2011 at 01:20 PM in reply to Skimask
      John is right kid. You need some brain power before you can take over. Go to school. Learn something. The military might be a good place for you too. Sounds like you could use some discipline. Just how far in life do you think you are going to get with the attitude you have now? The only job you will qualify for will be as a politician. Do you really want that??
  • by Anonymous on Nov 21, 2011 at 08:52 AM
    Has anyone called Walker to see if he's behind this? If it's not him then it must be the teachers. Has anyone noticed any misspelled words? No? Then it must be the unions.
  • by DJ on Nov 21, 2011 at 08:35 AM
    my question is, why is everyone suprised of this matter? the bigger a city gets, the increase in crime...more then likely it is gang related..EC has had gangs here ever since i attended Mckinley Elementary School back in 1991...the fact is, police can't keep it under the limelight anymore since EC is growing...just saying..
  • by Fred Bear Location: 3rd rock on Nov 21, 2011 at 07:24 AM
    This graffiti is like planting a seed for a Bad Medicine Tree. nip it in the bud. These are little gangsters or wanna be gangsters. mislead little punks
  • by Anon on Nov 21, 2011 at 07:21 AM
    If only we had concealed carry! That would stop the graffiti!
  • by TC Location: EC on Nov 21, 2011 at 02:37 AM
    Well, this isn't "graffiti." It's chicken scratch. Graffiti at the very least has some substance to it. I'd be looking for ...ages, 11-13. If you're any older than that...get a job. Really. Get a job. You're a disgrace; and it's ugly, not to mention...you've got too much time on your hands.
  • by Cal on Nov 21, 2011 at 12:20 AM
    Looks like gang stuff to me, at least what I have seen. Lets be honest here, there are violent gangs here in River City. Question is, whats the EC Police going to do about it. Time to put down the donut, stop bothering honest motorists, and start patroling for the real problems we have here!
    • reply
      by wow on Nov 21, 2011 at 08:56 AM in reply to Cal
      Blaming law enforcement for this is so wrong. Honest motorists being bothered????, drivers breaking the law being stopped is more like it and from your words sounds like you are one those law breakers that was stopped.
      • reply
        by Redneck on Nov 21, 2011 at 12:47 PM in reply to wow
        what he means is it seems everyone is so worried about problem A, when problem B seems to be ignored. Meanwhile most of the population sees problem B all over, and does not worry much about problem A. If you are worried about drivers going 5 over, you probably need a hobby. If you think symbolism of gang activity through vandilism, real or fake, is something to joke about and ignore, you need to pay more attention.
      • reply
        by Gary on Nov 21, 2011 at 01:22 PM in reply to wow
        your experience with LE is different from mine -
    • reply
      by motorist on Nov 22, 2011 at 01:26 PM in reply to Cal
      I happen to be one of those honest motorists that a policeman stopped to help. On a freezing cold day I had hit a patch of ice and got my car hung up in a snowbank. The police officer called a family member to come and help me. He stayed there until my family member arrived to make sure I was ok. He was as nice as he could be. In fact, I have never met a rude or nasty cop in the 50 years I've lived in Eau Claire. Even the cop that arrested my son for doing something stupid couldn't have been nicer when he brought my son. In fact he was much nicer to my son than I was after the officer left. My son mentioned he would rather have gone to jail than be punished by me.
  • by Anonymous on Nov 20, 2011 at 09:49 PM
    Must be the unions fault.
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