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Graffiti, vandalism in Hancock

HANCOCK – Mary Kaminski thinks Hancock is a very nice place to live, and it frustrates her to know there are people who would defile the city with graffiti and other forms of vandalism.

Last year, Kaminski said someone wrote graffiti on one of the buildings of her Copper Island Beach Club on the waterfront in Hancock.

There has recently been other graffiti in Hancock, and someone threw a large rock through a window in her business, Kaminski said. The dock in front of the CIBC was vandalized last year, also.

The spate of vandalism in Hancock and also in Houghton has caused her great concern, Kaminski said.

“I have to take action,” she said.

Although she doesn’t know for certain, Kaminski said she thinks the vandalism at her business and in other Hancock locations was caused by teens.

“Why is it happening?” she asked.

If it is teens or younger children doing the damage, Kaminski said that means parents aren’t being as watchful of their children as they should be.

Young people have plenty of opportunities for activities, locally, Kaminski said, so boredom shouldn’t be an excuse for vandalism.

“There’s always things to do here,” she said.

Kaminski said she hasn’t cleaned the graffiti off the building at the CIBC because she thinks the person who did it should take that responsibility.

She knows the Hancock Police Department officers are busy doing other things, and don’t have a lot of time to spend looking for people committing vandalism, Kaminski said.

“They have their hands full,” she said.

Mike Beaudoin, Hancock police chief, said occasionally officers will find people responsible for vandalism.

“We caught some kids not long ago,” he said.

Beaudoin said besides buildings and walls, stop signs are a target for graffiti.

Damage of property happens only occasionally, Beaudoin said. There hasn’t been an increase in vandalism in Hancock recently.

Beaudoin said the people they do catch for vandalism need to be more severely punished than is currently happening.

“We catch them and they get nothing,” he said.

John Donnelly, Houghton police chief, said vandalism seems to be more prevalent in the warmer months in Houghton.

“It is a continual problem,” he said. “It definitely pops its head up in the summer.”

Houghton city officials are working “diligently” to beautify the city, so it’s frustrating when there is vandalism, Donnelly said. He will assign a police officer to graffiti detail.

The incidents of graffiti usually happen at night, Donnelly said, and it’s usually teens committing the acts. However, it’s not only young people committing vandalism, Donnelly said. Recently some adults were caught on security camera coming out of a bar on Shelden Avenue downtown and ripping out some flowers from a planter.

“(Being) Intoxicated doesn’t help,” he said.

There is one good thing about the graffiti in Houghton, Donnelly said.

“We haven’t seen any gang-related stuff,” he said.

Donnelly said probably the best way for vandalism to be reduced is for peers of those committing the acts to say something.

“Sometimes it takes awhile,” he said.

Donnelly said not all young people are committing acts of vandalism. In fact, members of the Houghton High School band planted flowers in the city.

In June there was an incident of graffiti in Calumet Township. Several houses, vehicles and at least one large rock in a yard were painted with explicit graffiti.

Kaminski said she doesn’t understand why anyone would want to intentionally cause damage in this area.

“This is pretty much the last bastion of the perfect place to live,” she said. “We have it good.”