Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Graffiti 411

I just returned from a Pomona Police Department SARA meeting for Neighborhood Watch organizers. (SARA, come to find out, stands for Survey, Analyze, Respond, Assess.) Here are some tidbits I picked up and wanted to pass along:

1. Code Enforcement, which is open seven days per week, actually has to spend its time after yard sales taking down signs advertising sales. I think the people of Pomona need to step it up and pick up after themselves; the Code Crew (yup, I came up with that all by myself) have more important things to do, like shake down people who leave their junker cars parked on front lawns. Here's a suggestion: If you post a yard sale sign, take it down after your sale.

2. Comparing 2008 to 2007 crime rates, the police department reports at 13% decrease in homicides, 23% increase (that's right, increase...booo) in rapes, 8% decrease in robberies, 17% decrease in aggravated assaults, 1% decrease (hey, it counts) in residential burglaries, 17% increase in commercial burglaries, 28% decrease (woot! woot!) in vehicle burglaries, 1% increase in auto thefts, and a 5% decrease in larcency/theft. Three cheers for Pomona PD!

3. The PD can generate a "shots heard" map. Let's play a game of higher/lower, like on the Price is Right. How many "shots heard" calls do you think PD received in the month of December? 100? Higher. 1000? Lower. Answer: 923. I assume many of these were for the same incident.

4. The 2008 Santa Cop program donated over 2000 toys to 365 families. Three more cheers for Pomona PD! This is an impressive show of support for the community. If you -- like me -- didn't donate to the cause this past year, let's add it to our "things to do in 2009" list. The photos of grinning kids unwrapping presents are worth at least a modest donation.

5. The Celebrate Pomona City-Wide Beautification Day is happening again. Mark your calendar, then get organized, for Saturday, May 9 from 8AM - 12PM. You can either select your own site or call the organizers for an assignment. To register, or for more information, call 909-624-1281 or e-mail rdebruyne@msn.com . I participated in this event last year; it was a blast (though my strongest memory is of a couple Cal Poly sorority members saying how "grossed out" they were by Pomona...grrrrrrrr). We can organize around whatever projects we want: alleys, parks, medians, schools, abandoned lots.

6. [SEE UPDATE BELOW] FINALLY, drum roll................Did you know that the graffiti abatement team does not take pictures of graffiti before painting over the offending marks?! I, for one, assumed a call to graffiti abatement resulted in (a) a picture, (b) an abatement, and (c) a sharing of the picture with the appropriate PD unit. Nope. If you'd like PD to know about the graffiti -- which you should, since they're the ones able to investigate and arrest the ne'er-do-wells -- you have to first call the police department. So, let's review: the order of operations is as follows. 1) Spot graffiti. 2) Call Graffiti Coordinator, Leesa Ybarra at the Pomona Police Department. She can be reached at 909-802-7464 or via email at leesa_ybarra@ci.pomona.ca.us . 3) I'm guessing Leesa contacts abatement post-investigation; if she doesn't, you can. The number is 909-620-2265.

I'm told there's another SARA meeting tomorrow afternoon concerning checkpoints. I don't know when or where, but am told it is in the paper. I really need to order a subscription...another thing for the "to do in 2009" list.

UPDATE JANUARY 29, 2009: The following message just came across the Web Watch listserv.
  • There is only one number to call to have graffiti removed; it is (909) 620-2265. This number should be used 24 hours a day - 7 days a week for removal on private or public property. A removal crew will respond within 72 hours.
  • If you desire a police report contact the Pomona Police Department at (909) 622-1241.
Should you have any questions or concerns that are not answered by the information listed above, you may contact CSO Leesa Ybarra at (909) 802-7464.


Ed said...

Nice post. The DB has the police checkpoint meeting at 4:30PM (City Hall). Here's the article unless they move it.

Graffiti: I exchanged emails with Leesa over a year ago, and she indicated the abatement crew would take a picture so I shouldn't bother. Did they give a reason why the abatement crew can't point and click? Job security, bad contract, or just bad photographers?

Crime rates: Are those for the entire year or just the FBI numbers for the first half of 2008? The (lack of) rape coverage drives me crazy!!

Pride in Garfield Park said...

Hi Ed,

Leesa wasn't at the meeting, nor was anyone from the abatement, so it is possible the officers present are just not aware of the photographic pursuits of the abatement crew. I'll call Leesa to ask about the current state of affairs.

PD presented the crime rates on a table; the title led me to believe the rates were for the full year -- kind of a capstone reflection of 2008. The number of murders was 21 -- possibly dropping to 19. Those are the 2008 numbers, right? (I'm trying to recall the recent blog post about homicides.)

Pride in Garfield Park said...

Leesa tells me the answer to who to call about graffiti is "it depends." It depends on (1) where the graffiti is located -- your private property, somebody else's private property, or city property; and(2) whether the graffiti is identifiable -- three initials vs. a moniker tied to an individual vs. "Suzy loves Sam.

If the graffiti is on your personal property, call PD. If it is on your neighbor's property, suggest the neighbor call PD or call abatement. If it is on public property, call abatement. (When in doubt, I think I'll call Leesa.)

Leesa says the abatement team knows what kind of graffiti warrants photographing, and that they do photograph when appropriate.

I remain unclear why this message is different from what we heard last night. Leesa's name and contact info appear on all the web watch notices about graffiti, but only abatement's info is provided in the Neighborhood Watch list of "Where to send frequent complaints." Confused? Me too.

Ed said...

Thanks. I'm a little confused too, but I guess if we wanted all the Ts crossed we wouldn't be living in Pomona. Despite it's shortcomings, this city is changing for the better (and not by taking the McMansion route). Although I wouldn't complain if we added a little more affluence in the middle and upper ranges to give us a little more balance.

Ed said...

Sorry PiGP, I forget to say 'yes' those numbers sound like 2008. Sure wish the PPD would post the data on their website. :-(

Anonymous said...

I've used their online forms for graffiti removal in the past and I must say that they are very quick to respond. No more than 2 days ever! Hopefully they keep it up!