Mérida, Yucatán — The facade “rescue” plan continues in the Centro Histórico, and so do the graffiti doodlers, ready to undo all that hard work.
But while the rescues are accelerating, the vandals are slowing down.
The fight against graffiti has paid off. Municipal Police commander Mario Romero Escalante said that people caught painting graffiti or pasting decals in the Historic Center are often punished within hours of arrest and forced to personally repair of the damage.
The police chief said that since punishments were publicized, graffiti cases have declined 80 percent over last year.
Since the vast majority of the vandals are under age, it is difficult to refer them to the Attorney General’s Office, said Romero Escalante. For juvenile offenders, parents are called in and compelled to report before a judge.
Nothing seems sacred to young people with spray paint. Businesses, private homes, even churches are considered to be a free canvas. And every day, the city receives numerous caller complaints about it, according to Milenio Novedades.
Municipal police investigate between 15 and 20 graffiti cases each week, compared to 50 and 60 cases in the same time span previously.