Whether it's spray painted "street art" or unsightly gang symbols, graffiti is a problem the Davenport Police Department deals with every day, and police hope this latest round of arrests will help clean up the community.
"Over the last few weeks we've made a total of 15 arrests for graffiti. Basically two different groups. One was a street art group that shared their information using computers, the other one was targeting the southwest end mostly with some basic gang graffiti." Police Chief Mike Bladel said.
Over the past three weeks a squad of detectives and police officers along with a member of United Neighbors, a Non-Profit agency that works with the community, arrested nine juveniles and four adults for graffiti in Davenport. Some of the graffiti in the southwest part of the city was gang-related. The other arrests, near the Howell Street Tunnel, were so-called "street artists". Officials where the teenagers spend time and other leaders of the community led to the busts.
"The school resource officers contributed highly to this stuff as far as identifying some of these suspects, we had some pictures that we gathered in our surveillance and the patrol division and their relentless search for this stuff that happens on a daily basis." Captain Dave Struckman said.
The police department stressed that graffiti does occur on a regular basis, but with last night's roundtable discussion held at the Third Missionary Church because of recent spikes of teen violence, these arrests only emphasize the point that there needs to be more done with young people and gang activity.
"It's a fine line of what's art and what's criminal damage." Struckman said.
Although no charges have been filed at this point those arrested could face jail time and be fined up to $10,000. United Neighbors has painted over almost 200 graffiti sites in Davenport in the past two years.
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