Unfortunately, gang graffiti is a problem that various communities throughout the county must endure. Gangs use graffiti to glorify the gang and mark their territory, mourn fallen members, create a sense of intimidation within the community and challenge rival gangs. When a neighborhood is marked with graffiti, it not only damages property and lowers property values, but it places the entire area and its residents at risk. They essentially become targets to rival gang members. That is why it is important to have graffiti removed as soon as possible.
As we in law enforcement continue to battle the gangsters who bring violence to our neighborhoods, we as a community must continue to work as partners and report suspicious criminal activity. That includes reporting graffiti.
In 2012, our office filed 1,483 graffiti-related cases. Graffiti that is valued under $400 worth of damage is punishable by up to 1 year in county jail, and/or a $1,000 fine. Graffiti damage over $400 can be punishable as a felony by up to 3 years in county prison and/or a $10,000 fine.
Parents are also encouraged to remain engaged with their children and be aware of the signs that they may be participating in graffiti. Some of the signs youths who are participating in graffiti include possession of items such as spray paints, spray-paint plastic tips, permanent markers, rubber gloves, and/or notebooks, books or backpacks with graffiti markings. They may also have paint on their clothes, backpacks or other items.
If you suspect your child is involved in committing acts of graffiti, contact your local school police or a patrol officer that is working in your neighborhood.