Two juveniles were cited for tagging at least five garages in downtown Superior with red spray paint early Sunday, Aug. 18.
The graffiti included two swastikas, X’s, words and a depiction of a phallic object, according to Superior Police reports. At least two of the garages tagged were on the 1300 block of Cypress Avenue, and all were in the Wade Bowl Park area. The damage was reported at 1:55 a.m. Sunday and officers responded to the area.
One of the victims had a security camera pointed at the alley that caught images of two young people on bikes at about 1:15 a.m. While searching the area, Officer Griffith Coffman noticed a juvenile who appeared to be out past curfew on a nearby porch. The boy admitted that he and a friend had been involved with the spray painting.
The two juveniles, age 13 and 14, were issued city citations for damage to property. They returned to the alley later that day with family members to clean the garages.
One of the neighbors whose garage was targeted said she was shocked when she first saw the damage, as she’d never had her property vandalized before. The woman said she felt the juveniles appeared to be sorry for what they did.
Another victim said the damage was more than mere vandalism; it was a hate crime. The swastikas, she said, were only painted on garages belonging to African-American families.
She said that crime in the area seems to be on the rise. Days after the graffiti incident, she saw a pair of young people rummaging through cars on her alley camera. She also cited recent break-ins at Dollar General (July 30) and Freedom Gas Station (June 23).
In a July 21 Facebook post, the Superior Police Department announced plans to increase the number of police visits to Wade Bowl Park in response to complaints from park goers about underage tobacco violations, fighting and curfew violations.
"The most helpful thing for the police department is to receive a 911 call when an event is happening or as soon as new vandalism is found," said Assistant Chief Matt Markon.
The garage vandalism attracted outside attention as well. Members of United Presbyterian Church stopped by the alley Sunday afternoon to pray for those affected, one of the victims said. They arrived while the teens and their families were still cleaning the garages.
"The swastika's one of the greatest symbols of hate ever seen," said deacon Dean Hecht. "We wanted to answer back with the greatest symbol of love of all time, the cross."