Ask owners before painting over graffiti
I called 911 and said I would like to take care of vandalism by painting a graffiti-covered wall in Waipahu. I am a retired auto painter. They told me police had to be there when I did it. How can I legally take care of vandalism or graffiti?
Answer: The Honolulu Police Department does not require anyone wanting to paint over graffiti to get the department's permission.
However, spokeswoman Michelle Yu suggested contacting a Community Policing Team for tips and information. For the Waipahu area, call 456-8482.
That said, Yu pointed out that before doing anything, you should get permission from the property owner, whether a private citizen, utility company or government agency.
"Some property owners, such as small businesses, often welcome the assistance," while others want to take care of it on their own, she said.
Hawaiian Electric Co., for example, prefers to deal with the problem itself, mainly because of safety concerns, but also to ensure that uniformity is maintained in the paint used.
"Our policy is to try to get to every report of any kind of graffiti on our property within 48 hours," said spokesman Peter Rosegg.
In your area, the Waipahu Community Association has taken on graffiti as one of its projects, sponsoring "paint-outs" at least twice a year. One is planned for May 19. Call the association at 677-6939 to find out how you can help.
We also contacted TAG (Totally Against Graffiti), a volunteer group that actively works to get rid of graffiti by holding paint-outs.
It is based in McCully-Moiliili and does paint-outs only in that neighborhood, said Mimi Gans, TAG volunteer coordinator.
TAG has permission from the city and state to paint specific areas.
"We also have signed permission forms from various private property owners to paint out graffiti that appears on their property," Gans said. "If we can't get permission, we leave it alone."
To give you an idea of what it takes to tackle the problem, Ron Lockwood, chairman of the McCully-Moiliili Neighborhood Board, said TAG arose out of "numerous community meetings" involving the neighborhood board, Old Town Moiliili Business Association, the Rev. Joel Elias of HOPE 968, Friends of McCully Library, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1540, Kaimuki High School Community Council, Washington Middle School Community Council, etc.
"The question and frustration was, Who is doing anything about graffiti?"
With neighborhood board encouragement, Elias got his congregation started on small projects, and Lockwood helped with supplies. This led to meetings with representatives of the state Attorney General and Community Policing Team to get more people involved.
The first paint-out was held March 10; the most recent, last Saturday.
To reach TAG, e-mail email@example.com or call 252-4005.
Got a question or complaint?
Call 529-4773, fax 529-4750, or write to Kokua Line, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu 96813. As many as possible will be answered. E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
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