CORAL GABLES (CBSMiami.com) – On the streets of Coral Gables you’ll find sparkling fountains, lush landscaping, and fancy boutiques; but if you look closely, you’ll also see something else on walls, doors, and even parking meters: graffiti.
“We noticed that it was on our front door and on the wall next to us, and it was actually really obscene,” recalled Green Gables Cafe owner, Christina Alfonso.
Alfonso told CBS4’s Natalia Zea, she was horrified, “How awful! How many hours has it been there? How many people have seen that? We immediately ran over and washed it off.”
In Coral Gables, if business and homeowners don’t clean up graffiti within 72 hours they are given fines of $100 a day.
“It hurts us, I don’t know who they’re angry at, but we didn’t do anything,” Alfonso said of the graffiti “artists.”
But now, Coral Gables Police have a new weapon against the defacing doodling. Using more than $7,000 of a federal grant, the Department bought a mobile graffiti camera. It can be moved to anywhere in the City.
“We can attend to other situations in the city, and deploy our manpower in other situations and have the camera act as an additional officer,” Coral Gables police officer Kelly Denham said.
When a vandal enters the area where he or she is not supposed to be, the motion sensor goes off and the camera takes their picture, which can be used as evidence. The camera is also a deterrent; warning potential troublemakers that their images have been captured.
“They know they’re not supposed to be there, they’ve been given the warning and they vacate the area immediately,” said Denham.
Alfonso believes the camera will prevent her business from being defiled again.
“It’s nice to know someone out there is watching, not just us,” Alfonso said.
The Broward Sheriff’s Office and the city of North Lauderdale also have similar cameras in place.