We’ve had three major disturbing incidents of vandalism in our ward over the last month, including two targeting schools this week.
We had vandalism to both maintenance buildings at recreational facilities at Jesse Owens Park, followed by arson at Tucson Country Day School this weekend and criminal damage and attempted arson at Kellond Elementary on Monday night.
It took the Tucson Police Department only a few hours to locate and arrest two suspects in the Kellond incident. Credit goes to Operations Division East and Captain Colin King for getting the job done so quickly.
One of the moves that our previous chief undertook was moving detectives back into the divisions rather than working out of downtown. ODE has units that work on neighborhood crime and gang issues, and the detectives were able to capitalize on already having those relationships. Captain King also worked closely with Captain Mark Timpf, who heads the Specialized Response Division, and arson investigators from both TPD and the Tucson Fire Department.
We don’t yet know if there is a direct connection between these three incidents, but there are investigators continuing to look for one.
There are also some specific steps that have been taken with regards to these three sites. For example, a patrol officer has been assigned to focus on Jesse Owens Park. This officer will be working with Parks and Recreation. This is in addition to the security measures that Parks and Recreation has already been taking. If you see the officer at the park, make sure to say hello.
In my and my staff’s conversations with Captain King, he voiced concerns about groups on Facebook and Tik Tok that are focused on dares and contests that encouraged young people to commit minor vandalism. While he didn’t report that he hadn’t seen anyone encourage activity this major, he’d like to make sure that parents are keeping an eye on their kids’ social media activity.
If you have any tips about these incidents, call CSO Carranco Najera at 520-837-7163 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Both Captains King and Timpf have been doing an excellent job of keeping my staff updated on the progress of the investigations, and I will make sure to let you know about any progress.