Neighbor puts up ‘Happy Holidays’ sign over graffiti in Richland

Richland Police continue to investigate tagging making its way across central Richland.

Despite the blue paint being sprayed across the area, one neighbor isn’t letting the person responsible get her Christmas spirit down. She put up multiple signs near Cullum Avenue and Gillespie Street that say “Merry Christmas” and “Happy Holidays.”

Officers have noticed the uptick this month. They say 17 cases of tagging have been reported. Some are forms of art, though it’s still illegal to tag a building. Others are gang symbols.

“We’ve deployed a lot of resources. We’re trying to track down who’s doing this — like I said, we believe we know who is doing it and it’s only a select few,” said Capt. Chris Lee with the Richland Police Department. “And one person can go out and do a lot of graffiti in a short amount of time where this isn’t a major problem where we have 50-60 people out doing graffiti.”

Lee said the most common gang symbols are Florencia 13 and Rollin 60s. They’ve been spray-painted on buildings, electrical boxes, crosswalk signs and even on the windows at the Richland library.

Many have been documented by police, and they are looking at a few potential suspects.

“I’m not sure exactly what the purpose is with these graffiti’s, but yeah, in my mind there’s no justification or reasoning for it,” Lee said. “We’ve got it contained, and we’re going to continue to pursue the investigation and hopefully we’ll have some arrests and charges forwarded here shortly.”

Lee said there is no threat to the public.

Richland Parks and Recreation said it’s a few hundred dollars to clean up the tagging. Sometimes they have to bring out a pressure washer if it’s not coming off with their chemicals.

As for the woman who put up the signs – she said there’s a lot of elderly people in the neighborhood, and she doesn’t want them to see the graffiti.

However, Parks and Rec and volunteers with the police department cleaned up the tagging. The neighbor said she’s going to put the signs back up just to wish people a Merry Christmas.