In an effort to reverse a significant increase in graffiti and vandalism cases, the city and the Ogden Downtown Alliance were offering rewards Monday of up to $1,000 for information leading to arrests.
“Right now, graffiti is hurting our city,” stated a post on the Ogden police Facebook page. “When a business or historic building is tagged, it’s not just a blight on all those efforts, it’s often accompanied by permanent physical damage to these fragile spaces. Removing vandalism graffiti tags often requires scrubbing down and layered scraping of historic bricks. Other times, it requires replacement of wood treatments or painting over sections, all of which are costly and time consuming.”
The city said a reward of $500 was in play for information leading to an arrest for graffiti or vandalism anywhere in Ogden, and $1,000 if the case involved the Historic Downtown district.
Ogden Police Lt. Will Farr told KSL NewsRadio Monday afternoon that statistics showed those types of reports had risen 118% in 2021 compared to 2020 and 34% over 2019. Additionally, incidences of graffiti and vandalism were up 24% in the second half of this year compared to the first half of the year.
On Washington Boulevard, Heebeegeebeez owner Jon Pust said his block had been hit by multiple taggers within the past week, including on his storefront.
“I’ve seen a lot of tags on glass,” Pust said. “Usually graffiti is in the shadows. Usually, you’re going to see it in back alleys, on the backs of buildings, on the sides of buildings.”
Another nearby shop shared surveillance footage of the rear of their building and dumpster being hit by taggers in October. A worker told KSL-TV those two individuals still had not been identified or caught.
“I don’t think they’re dumb,” Pust said. “They know that we have cameras, so there’s cameras on the buildings.”
Pust, who put considerable time and resources into restoring the old building that now houses the comics and games shop, said not only are the repair costs onerous — property owners can be fined if they do not clean up the graffiti in a timely manner. He said that had happened to him once in the past.
“It was disappointing, certainly,” he said.
Pust said he hoped that the latest efforts might help to slow the spread of graffiti and tags around town.
“Hopefully whatever that person is doing is finding a better avenue for art,” Pust said. “I think it’s just somebody who wants their name known.”
Anybody with information about any of the crimes was asked to contact Ogden police investigations at 801-629-8228.