Skowhegan police, residents working to stop vandalism

SKOWHEGAN, Maine (WABI) - Graffiti and a lot of it is a growing problem in Showhegan.

An online neighborhood watch is helping police put an end to it.

"We're pretty disappointed in whoever these individuals are or individual. We are working diligently right now. We have information coming in daily trying to pinpoint who this individual is. We're really looking at thousands of dollars of damage," says David Bucknam, Skowhegan Police Chief.

That damage done by someone with a can of spray paint. While tagging isn't a new issue, it is for this area of Skowghegan, and the police aren't happy about it.

"We have a walking bridge that just got repainted. There was graffiti on that as well with the same tag, so we're keeping our case loads coming in with restitution portions which should be extremely high. You know, I don't think anybody wants to pay that, so just stop tagging our stuff here and go about your business," says Bucknam.

A Facebook neighborhood watch group alerted police to the graffiti which ranges from silly images to profane ones.

"You've got little kids walking down here. You've got parents walking down here. You've got kids that ride bikes. They don't need to see this stuff," says one resident.

"This stuff has got to stop because they've put a lot of money into this place," he says.

We talked to several people who didn't want to go on camera but said it's a bad situation. One man spoke to us but didn't want us to show his face.

"They've cleaned up the area, and now it's starting to look pretty bad," he says.

And, when people clean it up...

"It's right back."

Skowhegan Police Chief David Bucknam applauds the community's effort to keep an eye on the area and to help with cleaning up and painting over the graffiti. He wants people who are nervous about coming forward to know they can report a crime anonymously. They've already installed some security cameras and plan on putting up more until the tagging stops.

"The people who are doing the tagging, I am asking them to stop. All they're doing is creating more problems for themselves because eventually we will catch up to them, and they will have to stand with the actions they took," says the chief.