Oahu Graffiti on the Rise - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Oahu Graffiti on the Rise

By Mary Simms

HONOLULU (KHNL) -- Across Oahu, graffiti is a costly problem. And, it's one the Honolulu Police Department says is on the rise.

Compared to this same time last year, documented graffiti cases on Oahu have increased by more than 300. And compared to 2005, they've nearly doubled.

Hidden under a freeway overpass, Makiki skate park is a favorite for "taggers."

It frustrates skater Jeffrey Abaricia who says the vandals get in his way.

"Because I was skating and they just stood up there. They start graffitiing, and I can't do anything."

For the 16-year-old who just wants to skate, taggers start a cycle that keeps getting in his way.

"When people graffiti, the people who clean up the park close the park to get rid of all the graffiti. It gets in the way of skating because they keep renovating the park, and cleaning it up."

But, not all of his friends agree graffiti is a problem.

"I think graffiti is alright, like some of it is pretty nice, like art," said Steven Choe.

But police say its a big problem. So far this year, there have been 1,385 reported cases of graffiti on Oahu, and 201 arrests. The majority of offenders are teens and young adults.

"I think it makes the park all dirty, really dirty looking," said Abaricia.

For Jeff, skating is a part of life, and he wishes tagging would get out of the way.

The Department of Transportation alone spends $50,000 each year cleaning up graffiti on freeways and state roads.

If you'd like to help keep Oahu graffiti free, the DOT has a volunteer program, and you can help.

Call (808) 831-6712 to volunteer.

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