Vandalism on the rise in El Centro

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EL CENTRO, Calif. – Residents are concerned with the increase of vandalism and tagging happening in the community.

One local couple has taken it upon themselves to try and better their city. Dana Sharpe and her husband John say they started noticing the increase in vandalism recently. In a matter of weeks they put together a list on acts of vandalism finding almost 200 incidents across the city.

“As I was driving around town, just on my errands or going to church and such, we noticed that it was just everywhere. And before where it was just one corner here and there, it was everywhere,” says Dana Sharpe of El Centro.

Sharpe and her husband voiced their concern at a city council meeting to bring attention to the issue. Authorities say if you are caught in the act of vandalism or tagging a building, you can be arrested on the spot or charged with serious crimes.

Dan Prince, Imperial County Chief Probation Officer says, “Any young person who is referred to our department by law enforcement for graffiti, we automatically send those cases to the district attorney for possible formal prosecution.”

Mayor Jason Jackson is aware of the growing problem and recommends people voice their concern using the city’s website. Beginning in September the city will partner with the county’s probation department to create juvenile community work crews.

Chief Prince explained what the crew would entail saying, “Where young people will have to show up early in the morning and go out and do a hard day’s work cleaning up the graffiti that in some cases they may have been responsible for.”

Sharpe went on to explain what she hopes to happen.

“I’m hoping that we can at least have a community clean-up day, if nothing else we do what we can and then the city does what they can, and between all of us at least we see and improvement,” says Sharpe.

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