TEP officials ask residents to report graffiti

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Neighborhood groups have been teaming up to fight graffiti. It's an on-going battle all over the city. Now Tucson Electric Power company officials are urging residents to report graffiti on power poles or substations directly to the company.

Joe Barrios, a spokesman for TEP said, this was a job best left to professionals. Instead of trying to erase the problem the themselves, Barrios said residents should take a picture of the vandalism and get it to TEP using an online form or emailing them at graffiti@tep.com

"They shouldn't do it themselves.  We'll be happy to come out and do it."

Barrios said they had a graffiti team in place, their primary job was to respond to calls during the week.

Neighborhood associations were relieved to get the help from TEP.  Many of them spend thousands of dollars of their own money to buy cans of spray paint and patrol their streets.

Ronni Kotwica, the president of the Palo Verde Neighborhood association said their motto was to erase the graffiti within 24 hours.  The association had about 20 volunteers who armed themselves with buckets and spray paint, and walked around neighborhoods on a daily basis to get rid of all graffiti they found.

"It's disheartening.  We spend a lot of our neighborhood's money to fight graffiti.  {people who are doing it don't understand because they don't care.  It's a high for them," said Kotwica.

Joseph Miller, president of the Midvale Park neighborhood association said they too had a dedicated group of citizens to abate graffiti in their neighborhood. It was a constant problem. 

"Once they hit one pole then they hit another pole, then another pole, they'll just tag, tag, tag, tag, tag."

Miller said graffiti problems drove out prospective residents who were looking for homes, and were an eyesore on their streets.

Barrios encouraged residents to take pictures of all graffiti found on power poles, utility boxes, or sub-stations and email it to them, along with a location.  He encouraged residents not to tackle the highly energized equipment on their own.

"Our employees have specialized equipment and special training.  They know how to remove graffiti safely.  We don't want people to do it themselves."

TEP has a form on their home page where you can turn in complaints with a simple click online.  You can also upload pictures via their website.

For more information or to access the form, you can log onto www.tep.com  or https://www.formstack.com/forms/?1338283-aXOPVPSHli

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