BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - Graffiti has been an issue all over the county but several swastikas on a building in Oildale has some residents concerned.
Graffiti has been an issue all over the county, but several swastikas on a building in Oildale has some residents on the 100 block of Beardsley Avenue concerned.
It's observable fact that you don't have to go far into Oildale before you spot some graffiti painted on a fence, trash can or wall. However, it is not every day you come across a symbol associated with intimidation painted on a building.
"When you see it, it makes you want to stay from that area unless you are walking down the street with protection," said Candis Sharp a resident.
Officials at the Kern County Sheriff's Office said there have not been any recent reports of hate crimes in the area. In this instance, three swastikas painted on an abandon building is not a hate crime unless it is directed to a specific person or group, according to sheriff officials.
"We take hate crime cases very seriously. We want to come out and investigate these types of cases and take a look at what has occurred. We will investigate and try to determine the intent or motive of the suspects," said Ray Pruitt of the Kern County Sheriff Office.
Many residents 23 ABC spoke with said they are concerned about the swastikas because they said it is racially motivated. One resident said the symbol is directed to an African-American family who recently move into the area.
"Those swastikas are showing up is because of the troubles we have had over here with whites against blacks and the family who moved in down the street is black. So punks got a can of paint and drew the swastikas last week," said one unidentified resident.
So far, in this case nobody has come forward to report the suspicious graffiti to law enforcement.
"If we can show that it was done with the intent to harass or intimidate a certain group then we can investigate that as a hate crime," said Pruitt.
Other residents are not too concerned about the symbol, but would like to see all graffiti in the area removed.
"If someone would just come out here with a paint brush, it would be fine," said Sharp.
The sheriff office urges anyone who spots suspicious graffiti to give them a call at 661-391-7431. Also, if you have an issue with any type of graffiti in your area, you can call 661-32-ERASE to have it removed.