‘Enough’s Enough:’ Dover NH Forms Committee on Graffiti
If you are bothered by the graffiti around Dover and on the Community Trail this is your chance to help find a solution.
Dover Police Chief William M. Breault told Seacoast Current the nice weather brings out not only more people on the trail but an increase in reports about graffiti. The city council gave its approval in May for a committee to be formed to address the issue and started accepting applications from residents to join.
After a seasonal ebb and flow in terms of an increase in reports and complaints the chief researched what tactics dealing with graffiti have worked around the country. Breault is trying a holistic approach that includes the citizen advisory committee and the immediate removal of graffiti.
City Planner Donna Benton told Seacoast Current that she believes that people's patience has also worn thin with the graffiti.
"Community members who have come to us complaining have said 'enough's enough. We need to do something about it.' I think that's probably what the bigger motivation is rather than an increase in graffiti. I think it's a similar amount to what we've had in other years," Benton said.
One goal of the committee would likely be to come up with ways to work with private private property owners, business owners as well as the city if it's on public property to remove the graffiti, particularly if it's vulgar, in a more timely fashion, according to Breault.
Another issue for the committee to examine is street art versus graffiti.
"There is the argument that some of the graffiti is actually art and these are artists just looking to express themselves. Is there a way this can be done in a more controlled manner with areas that can be designated?" Breault said.
The committee will also look at ways of gaining better control so that the amount of graffiti doesn't increase in the spring and summer.
Breault said the committee would meet 10 times over two years. It will be made up of a city councilor, a member of the Arts Committee, the Community Trail advisory committee, police, the planning board, community services, a representative from Dover Main Street and two residents.
When asked why people feel the need to leave their mark Breault didn't have an answer and said it's not just the Dover and the Seacoast with a graffiti problem.
"I guess if we could figure that out that would probably help us understand this. And it's not just the trail. We see it on the electrical boxes and other places. This is a problem that happens throughout the entire country whether you're in a small town or a big city," Breault said. "I don't know why people take pleasure in damaging other people's property."
Benton told Seacoast Current they hope to have the first meeting by September.
Anyone interested serving on the committee should apply here by the end of July.