The City of Santa Clarita and the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Department are proud to announce that since January 1, 2005, Sheriff’s personnel have made 83 arrests for graffiti and tagging-related offenses. This number represents a renewed effort by the City and Sheriff’s Department in combination with the community, to catch vandals in the act.
Only a small number of the taggers arrested were gang members. Ages ranged from fifteen to twenty years old. Sheriff’s personnel attribute the low instance of gang-related arrests to gang taggers signing only their gang name, rather than an individual moniker, in their graffiti. This makes it more difficult for Sheriff’s personnel to assign tags to any one individual; however, deputies do investigate all reported instances of graffiti.
“We are working hard to keep the graffiti problem in check,” said Lt. Mike Dunkle, of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station. “By conducting periodic sweeps and thoroughly investigating instances of graffiti, we are confident that taggers will begin to get the message that if they continue their vandalism, they will be caught.”
The City relies on the diligence of parents, teachers, and members of the community to assist by reporting acts of vandalism in their neighborhoods. Graffiti is a concern valley-wide and has become a popular activity for high school-aged youth and tagging is an expensive problem. According to a 2002 Public Technology Inc. survey, about $55 million is spent on graffiti removal in Los Angeles County annually. Santa Clarita spent approximately $223,000 on graffiti abatement last year and that number is expected to increase in 2005.
Community members are encouraged to maintain their vigilance and report instances of tagging and graffiti. The City has set up a special hotline, 661/25-CLEAN, where residents can report graffiti vandalism. In some instances, residents can receive up to a $500 reward for reporting tagging.
For more information about the City’s graffiti abatement programs, including the City’s volunteer efforts, please contact the City’s Community Services Office at 661/284-1401.