Graffiti sensors have yet to lead to arrestsFARGO, N.D. (AP) — Graffiti sensors are supposed to sniff out spray paint so Fargo police can snuff out crime. But authorities say the sensors, installed two years ago, have yet to yield an arrest.
FARGO, N.D. (AP) — Graffiti sensors are supposed to sniff out spray paint so Fargo police can snuff out crime. But authorities say the sensors, installed two years ago, have yet to yield an arrest.
Lt. Joel Vettel told The Forum (http://bit.ly/LC0XE4 ) that he hopes that fact will soon change because the manufacturer of the fume-detecting sensor is sending replacements with updated software.
"It's something we're trying to tweak and modify," he said.
The department paid $800 apiece for two sensors that were installed in areas known to be frequent graffiti targets.
When the sensor detects paint fumes, it sends a message to officers' cellphones and to dispatchers.
Vettel said that while the sensors haven't been as reliable as hoped, they have led to some close calls — police missed the vandals by moments.
"Oftentimes, they can get out of there as quickly as we can get there," he said. "It is challenging."
The replacement sensors contain updated software that should improve their durability under Fargo's extreme environmental conditions, Vettel said, as incidents tend to escalate in the warmer summer months.
Artists and taggers often target areas that are lightly traveled or out of sight, such as walkways under bridges, pedestrian tunnels and alleyways, Vettel said.
"We certainly have pockets of areas that are more exposed to it, but it certainly is something we see citywide," he said.
The department has an officer who monitors tags for possible gang connections, and he's confident the vast majority of graffiti seen in Fargo isn't gang-related, Vettel said.
Information from: The Forum, http://www.in-forum.com
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.