Gang graffiti defaces M’boro

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 14, 2007

MURFREESBORO – The citizens of Murfreesboro may have been seeing some unwanted art around their town in the form of graffiti.

Blue and red spray painted signs have been showing up on buildings in places including Spring Avenue and on the east part of town.

Though the signs are just paint, the symbolism behind the signs are much more venomous.

According to Murfreesboro Police Chief Darrell Rowe, the symbols popping up across town are commonly used by the Bloods and Crips, Los Angeles based street gangs.

The subject has been discussed in the past two Murfreesboro Town Council meetings.

Rowe first brought up the subject at the Feb. 27 meeting during the police department report portion of the meeting.

“As far as signs go,” Rowe said, “when the Crips put up signs and the Bloods spray over it, it’s a sign of disrespect. That’s what this is all about is disrespect.”

Rowe added that having school uniforms has cut down on gang colors being displayed in the schools and that a lot of the gang formation may be a translation of rivalry between towns.

“Don’t you think it’s time that the town adopt something in retaliation?” asked Mayor Lynn Johnson.

Rowe explained the town could do nothing more because what is being done is illegal, the individuals are defacing town and public property.

He said the only way to defeat the problem was to work with other local law enforcement offices like the Ahoskie Police Department and the Hertford County Sheriff’s Office.

“It’s only effective if all three of us work together,” he said.

Rowe added that he has plans to go with Hertford County Sheriff Juan Vaughan to speak with at-risk youth at Hertford County High School.

At the most recent meeting of the council (Tuesday), board member Bill Stephens asked Rowe if any more gang signs had been placed around town.

Rowe reported there were some that had been painted on a building on Spring Avenue.

In other business, the board discussed a possible amendment to the charter of the town concerning elected officials’ terms of office.

Interim Town Administrator David Overton presented the resolution to the board which would change the terms for the mayor and town commissioners from two to four years and allow the commissioners to have staggered terms.

Staggered terms means terms of office are scheduled so all members of the governing body are not chosen at the same time.

The commissioners were split on their opinions of the change.

Town Commissioners Gloria Odum and Stephens said they “liked” the idea, while Lloyd Hill and Sarah Wallace were undecided on the issue.

Commissioner Bill Theodorakis said he liked the way the ordinance was.

“Did someone bring this up on the board?” asked Theodorakis.

Mayor Johnson said no one on the board had brought it up.

“It’s a way of bringing things up to date,” she said.

Rowe reported the police department received $15,000 worth of equipment from the military. The equipment included generators and two golf carts.

The board also addressed the need for parking signs on Main Street, which would give a time limit to how long a car could be parked.

Theodorakis said he had received complaints from business owners who have individuals park and leave their car all day.