Arcadia’s neighborhoods have seen an increase in property crime in the form of graffiti and vandalism. Tristahn Schaub, Arcadia Camelback Mountain Neighborhood Association president, said that although graffiti and property damage has always taken place in the area, they’ve noticed an uptick in 2020.
“It might be the increased rates of joblessness or kids not going to school or involved in physical activities that has fueled the wreckage,” Schaub said.
Schaub said that the most affected areas by graffiti are along the canal, but there have been incidents on community properties. A large home being constructed on Lafayette Boulevard was spray-painted on one entire side. The major roadways and institutions are just as susceptible –Camelback Christian Church east of 62nd St. and the Church of Latter-day Saints on 56th St. have also been hit.
“We’ve had thefts of Christmas decorations, packages, a resident’s lawn was torn up by a vehicle, and I got nailed by a flying cup of fruit punch,” Schaub said.
The baseball field at Camelback Christian was torn up by truck tires, causing thousands of dollars’ worth of damage. The field is under repair, but the little league season that starts next month might be in jeopardy.
“We just seeded and fixed everything to get ready for the season, and now it’s ruined,” Cheri Pierce, president of Arcadia Little League said. “We have to have dirt delivered, hire a crew. I’m sure it was a lot of fun to watch this happen – but now, we have a financial burden. Two divisions – 14 teams – won’t be able to play this year if we can’t get the fields fixed in time.”
“The church noticed activity happening two/three times a week, starting before Veteran’s Day. There are alcohol bottles and cans, glass, trash. It’s probably 15-25 people doing this.”
Schaub said the Phoenix Police Department was contacted, and their graffiti experts said there are new people trying to get their ‘name’ or art out there to build a reputation for themselves. “Arcadia Falls at 56th and Indian School was victim to a lot of this newbie [graffiti] activity,” Schaub said.
“These kids are not in live school, sports and recreational outlets are closed, and they have time on their hands,” Schaub said. “But it’s not just the kids. I think people steal to get the money they need and are upset and use graffiti as an outlet.”
In both the vandalism and the graffiti cases, the police have been notified. Vandalism falls under criminal damage and a class 6 felony when the value of the damage is above $1,000 (ARS 13-1602).
“It’s mixed with emotions,” Schaub said. “People feel compassionate for what ‘kids’ are going through and don’t want lives ruined over a silly prank. But they do want the behaviors to stop.”
Schaub explained that with the graffiti and theft, police can access homeowners’ Ring doorbell and security camera footage with their permission, and they can use that video and neighboring homeowner’s video to track down criminals.
Phoenix Police Officer Jared Sherman is the community action officer and direct point of contact for matters relating to crime and policing in the area. Sherman can be reached via e-mail: email@example.com.
To report graffiti, call the Phoenix graffiti line at 602-534-4444 or email
firstname.lastname@example.org (make sure to include the address or location if possible). To report vandalism, theft or any other crime in progress, call 911.