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UPDATE: Graffiti on the rise in Santa Clarita this year

Newhall particularly hard hit during first three months of 2012

Posted: April 23, 2012 7:02 p.m.
Updated: April 23, 2012 7:02 p.m.

The amount graffiti marring buildings, walls and other locations throughout Santa Clarita has increased 10 percent in the first quarter of 2012, city officials said Monday.

Members of the city's graffiti task force removed 1,329 "tags" in the first three months of the year, up 10 percent from the same period in 2011, city officials reported.

"I always say, graffiti is a nationwide epidemic," said Community Services Supervisor Cynthia Llerenas. "(Taggers) are everywhere."

Newhall saw a significant increase in graffiti, up 57 percent in March from February, Llerenas said.

The increase in Newhall is due to two large "tagging crews" who have been defacing walls and sidewalks, Llerenas said.

Underage teenagers do the majority of tagging in the city, Llerenas said.

"According to our numbers last year, over 65 percent are juveniles, which is why we go out to the junior highs and high schools and do outreach on the consequences of this," Llerenas said.

Consequences include completing 100 hours of community service, paying restitution for the property destroyed, and having a felony record, Llerenas said. Since a graffiti task force was formed in 2007, more than 1,000 taggers have been arrested.

A database stores information on taggers and when they're caught and can be used to determine the cost of restitution, Llerenas said.

Last week, two teenagers were arrested on suspicion of damaging multiple walls and sidewalks in Canyon Country at a restitution cost of about $55,000, Llerenas said.

"We do have some areas in Canyon Country, as well as Newhall, that get tagged frequently," Llerenas said. "That's why it's important for residents to call it in so we can get to it quickly."





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