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Nearly 1,200 Graffiti Incidents in Santee in 2011; Tagger Forced to Repay $20K

A SANDAG report breaks down the effectiveness of the Graffiti Tracker program and sheds a light on local tagging.

1,178 incidents of graffiti vandalism were recorded in 2011 in Santee, requiring 12,214 square feet of restoration by public work crews, according to a recent post at the Santee Review and a study by the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG).

The SANDAG report is an evaluation of the countywide Graffiti Tracker program, a database of graffiti images submitted by public workers that documents where the graffiti was sprayed and makes it easier to identifiy and convict the most prolific taggers. Santee has been active in using this program to fight the defacement of public and private property.

According to the SANDAG report, 10 percent of Santee graffiti was gang related, 66 percent was "tagging" and 24 percent unknown.

A prolific teenage tagger in Santee was convicted in 2012 and forced to repay the city $20,000 in restitution. The Graffiti Tracker program allows officials to track certain taggers with identifying styles and build a case against their repeated vandalizing.

To see how Santee compares to other East County cities, El Cajon reported 4,412 incidents to Graffiti Tracker in 2011, and La Mesa reported 2,066.

A total of 82,482 graffiti incidents were documented in Graffiti Tracker across the region in 2011, which equates to about 226 incidents per day.

It is Santee's policy to remove the graffiti within 24 hours of identifying it, which makes it less likely for the tagger to vandalize again.

"Physical disorder such as graffiti and tagging that is left ignored in a neighborhood can cause an increase in crime, because criminals will perceive the neglect as indifference on the part of residents, and therefore the community, as an easy target for committing crime," according to the SANDAG report.

The City of Santee website states "the City takes a very active approach to wiping out graffiti and encourages citizens to report graffiti when sighted."

Report graffiti to the City of Santee at (619) 258-4195 ext. 188 or report online at this form.

Read more about Santee graffiti at the Santee Review

Randy Campbell February 13, 2013 at 05:40 AM
Reporting graffiti and then the city painting over the graffiti is great, yet it does nothing about actually stopping the problem. Whatever you spend this year, you will spend the following year, and the next, and the next. How about a program that has been proven to stop graffiti. A recent trial in a city for three months got a total reduction of 87% in their graffiti cases. They also caught and or stopped 62 of their prolific vandals. This is what works, catching the vandals in the act and then having the court place controls on them. Since this was proven to work, why do we continue to just document and paint over graffiti? How about we take the steps to actually stop it! Gripsystems.org and Tripwiresystems.com is a company that put this entire process together and then to prove that it works, took over a cities graffiti removal program and without any additional funds, or extra police manpower, in three months they got that 87% reduction. It can be replicated anywhere, you just need to make the decision to do it! Contact The Nograf Network Inc if you want additional information.
Alan Stuart February 13, 2013 at 05:27 PM
Are you out of your mind? Adding CCTV cameras all over city is not going to stop graffiti, people will just cover their face. The last thing we need is more security cameras in America. I don't feel comfortable seeing cameras and knowing someone is watching me. You are requesting that Santee become some dystopian society that needs constant monitoring by authority in order to be protected from a little paint. What we really should do is add more murals in Santee. Studies have shown that murals are a since of pride in a community & are mostly not vandalized. Here are a few links about the benefits of murals: http://bit.ly/Yrs7nI, http://bit.ly/mOr7CY. The National Crime Prevention Council recommends installing murals but says nothing about installing CCTV cameras. There are plenty of new bridges with blank grey bottoms that could use some color. The mural in Mast Park turned out beautifully and we should expand that program. If you go to other neighborhoods in San Diego all of their electric boxes are painted by local artists but in Santee we just leave them as a giant brown, green, or grey metal box.

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