Vulgar graffiti taints neighborhood
Published 12:04 am Saturday, September 19, 2015
NATCHEZ — Natchez resident Chandra Dillard says she has a difficult enough time protecting her three children from profanity without the help of the vandals who painted vulgar language literally on the side of Dillard’s house.
Spray-painted graffiti laced with vulgar language appeared on Dillard’s Itasca Drive house earlier this week. The vandalized exterior wall, now laced with a word too profane for publication, is next to an inflatable children’s pool.
“It’s just not right,” said Dillard, who has lived on Itasca Drive for five years. “I wish I knew who did this.”
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Across the street from Dillard’s house on Miller Avenue, the same green spray paint mars two vacant houses.
One of those houses — which sits at the corner of Miller Avenue and Roselawn Drive — displays racially charged language.
Natchez Police detective Jerry Ford said the police department is investigating the graffiti.
“I don’t know of any gangs in that area, but there could be,” Ford said.
Defacing any property — public or private — is considered vandalism, Ford said, and offenders could face a misdemeanor charge.
Hate crimes, however, have a larger penalty, he said.
“A hate crime is a felony, and it carries jail time,” Ford said.
Interim City Planner Rico Giani said the two properties on Miller Avenue are currently listed as private.
A street view, however, shows no signs of residential activity in either house.
Public Works supervisor Justin Dollar said in order for the city to remove graffiti, properties must be adjudicated first.
“We can’t legally go on private property until it’s adjudicated,” Dollar said. “It has to first go through code enforcement.”
Dollar said the city’s public works department hasn’t dealt with any graffiti vandalism.
As for Dillard, she said she has a temporary solution to her neighborhood’s vandalism problem.
“I don’t let my kids go outside to play anymore,” Dillard said Friday while her children were inside watching television. “We hear shots fired out here too — it’s just not safe.”
Dillard said she is moving at the end of the month, and hasn’t made an effort to remove the graffiti.
Attempts to reach city code enforcement officer Anita Smith were unsuccessful.