“Our community is one of respect and personal responsibility”
By Aimee Eaton
The Crested Butte Marshals’ Office is currently investigating a case of graffiti tagging at the new bike skills park located near the Community School.
The incident happened in the middle of last week and entailed the spray-painting of swastikas and genitalia on the boulders marking the entrance to the park. The tagging was isolated to the bike park, and was cleaned up this weekend by the town’s park and recreation department.
“When graffiti is offensive in nature we do our best to remove it as soon as possible to limit the exposure to kids playing in our parks,” said parks and recreation department manager Janna Hansen. “We’ve also found that graffiti breeds graffiti, so if a place gets tagged we remove it to avoid additional tagging.”
While the occasional bout of spray paint, like that at the Alien Shack, does show up in town, graffiti, especially of a boorish and disrespectful nature, is relatively rare. Part of this is due to the culture of respect fostered in the area, and part of this is due to the rapid response of the town staff and the Marshals’ Office.
“Positive peer pressure is a great deterrent for vandalism,” said Hansen. “Our kids learn from an early age that the culture of our community is one of respect and personal responsibility. The Seek the Peak program at the school reinforces this positive peer pressure and a lot of kids aren’t afraid to stand up to their friends when they see them doing something inappropriate. Keeping our public spaces clean, free from litter, and well maintained, fosters a sense of pride and helps deter vandalism.”
Crested Butte chief marshal Mike Reily agreed, saying that compared to many other places Crested Butte has only a minor problem with tagging.
“I am glad people still get upset about the few incidents we experience, which shows our pride in keeping a clean community with little toleration for incidents of criminal mischief,” said Reily.
Reily said there was an incident of graffiti at the skate park last summer, and in that case several different juveniles were found responsible.
“We believe most, if not all, of the parties responsible for those incidents were identified,” Reily said, noting that after the perpetrators were identified the individual cases were handled based on age and severity of damage, with “most requiring restitution and community service.”
The Marshals’ Office suggests that anyone who finds graffiti on their property, or who sees tagging in public spaces report the incident so that it may be properly documented and cleaned or covered quickly to discourage additional tags.