Graffiti incidents on the rise in Toms River
Toms River police have been seeing a little bit of an uptick in graffiti throughout the Township with the warmer weather, according to department spokesman Ralph Stocco.
Spraypainted images have mainly been popping up on commercial buildings downtown and along busy corridors, according to Stocco, who noted it's a seasonal problem.
"We're seeing along our businesses and our main arteries, such as Route 37, Hooper Avenue, Fischer Boulevard," said Stocco.
Stocco noted in speaking with other police departments, there also have been more incidents of graffiti lately in surrounding communities, including Lakewood, Brick and Jackson, and in Monmouth County, as well as along the Garden State Parkway and Route 9 corridor.
Police think more than one graffiti artist is responsible because the incidents appear to be random and without a pattern, according to Stocco.
"You can tell when they use lettering and handwriting that it's different and the messages seem to be different. Some are pictures, some are cartoon characters and some are letters," he said.
Most businesses cover up the graffiti right away, but then the vandal returns, creating a battle between the owner and the graffiti artist, Stocco said.
"Its is vandalism and it is a crime," Stocco warned. "What we've been doing is, anytime that we see an area that is new graffiti, we check the surrounding businesses and residence for any type of video surveillance cameras in an attempt to catch theses people, because covering it up to us isn't a solution to the problem, we want to catch the offender whose doing it, so we can put it to a stop," he said.
Although a non-indictable crime, Stocco pointed out if the vandal is a juvenile, it would be enough of a fine to make a dent in their wallet.
Stocco added businesses and residents can protect themselves with extra lighting and motion sensors, which he said serve as a great deterrent for vandals.
Anyone with information is urged to contact the Toms River Police Department at 732-349-0150. Callers can remain anonymous.