I received an email last week from a concerned reader that I wanted to try to get addressed (you guys are so on the ball- I love that!) To compliment all of the car break-in's around town, it appears that some graffiti 'artists' or 'taggers' have taken a liking to Kirkland as well. This vandalism has been spotted on historic informational signs at Juanita Bridge, memorial benches, vacant homes and construction site trailers lately. Not to mention the one pictured left that I drive past 20 times a day on Market Street which makes me feel like I'm living a scene from "The Wire." The best deterrent is swift removal, so if you see these markings around town you should dial our Anti-Graffiti Hotline at 425-587-3824. There is a full time person that is responsible for searching/destroying graffiti in Kirkland and it's their goal to remove the markings within 24 hours of you reporting it. Of course, if it's on private property that person is responsible for removal, and sometimes it takes a bit longer when PSE or King County property gets defaced.
Rex Caldwell of the Kirkland PD told me that "tagging" is mostly what is going on in Kirkland which means it is more of a contest of imagination for the offender as opposed to being gang related. Last year there were 21 case reports for tagging and we have 11 so far this year (most of which are from school resource officers). The number of tags are increasing from last year with 1248 in Q1 and 1519 in Q2 (yes, every one is logged). Most frequent instances seem to be around Peter Kirk Park and our beloved bus station there and surrounding areas. If you see an offense in progress, try to snap a picture of the creep on your cell phone and call 911. But if you see tags around town that need attention, call or email the hotline (587-3TAG). And if you notice that your teenage kid has lots of tags and drawings all over their room and notebooks, it may be time to have a little talk. ~j