While the cases against the teen suspects who recently vandalized numerous areas in Castle Rock are still open, thanks to unified cleanup efforts, things have nearly been returned back to their original state. The Town’s Parks and Recreation Department, along with local police and artists, have been working together to erase the eyesores left behind by the senseless crime.
During their escapade, the vandals marked over a dozen sites in Town, including areas they tagged with graffiti in the Meadows neighborhood, as well as in several locations around downtown parks – defacing many of the ‘Art Around the Rock’ murals located along trails throughout town.
According to Officer Seth Morrissey of the Crime Prevention Unit for Castle Rock, over a dozen locations around Castle Rock had to be addressed so the vandalism could be removed. “Most of the murals are back to their original state,” Morrissey said. “The Town of Castle Rock Parks Department has been in charge of the cleanup efforts, they have done a great job, but some of the areas needed some artist touch-up.”
One of examples of public artwork marked by graffiti was the piece near the Front Street flyover known as ‘Petroglyph.’ The work of Douglas County resident and artist, Janene DiRico-Cable, it is a piece that recreates the very early beginnings of civilizations in our area. “I put together and painted a series actual petroglyphs that can be seen in different locations around Colorado,” said DiRico-Cable.
The massive 13 by 50 foot mural – that she lost count of the hours it took to paint – was quickly defaced by vandals armed with spray cans. “It really hurts when it’s something you have spent so much time creating,” she expressed. “I felt like it was a personal attack when it was vandalized.”
DiRico-Cable, who already had ties with the Town’s police department, was one of a few artists commissioned to decorate specific locations around Castle Rock. “I had already done the bronze sculpture of Jax that sits in the front of the station, so I was connected with the police here,” DiRico-Cable said.
But she didn’t realize exactly how many murals she would sign up to do. “First they asked me to do one mural, then two, which led to six – I couldn’t say no to the police; especially after all the hard work they do for us everyday,” she noted.
Widely known as Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED), it is a program developed of the idea of modifying structures to deter crime. Many communities, like Castle Rock, have hoped to reduce graffiti and vandalism by painting places like underpasses with art. However, as in this case, nothing is full proof.
And while DiRico-Cable has had some time to do most of the repainting and work through the frustration of the crime, she hopes this will open the door for parents to talk with their kids about committing crimes. “It is my hope that hearing things like this will come up at the dinner table and start the conversation about what not to do.”