If you’ve noticed less scrawling on the walls of the city, give credit to the Graffiti Task Force, which patrols the streets and removes offending, illegal markings throughout the year.
More than six thousand tags were removed during 2011, with the majority of displays taken from surfaces in Canyon Country. Of 6,333 tags removed, 55 percent of them were found by staff while patrolling the area and 45 percent were reported by residents.
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Canyon Country had the highest number of calls, with 1,268, followed by Valencia with 981, Newhall with 418, Saugus with 302 and unincorporated county area with 51. Hot spots included the following streets and areas: Crossglade Avenue, Camp Plenty Road, the Grandview paseo, Creekside, Scherzinger Lane, Canyon Park Drive, Lost Canyon Road, the Old Orchard paseos and Arch Street.
While the statistics show a 25 percent decrease in gang graffiti in the last year, they were still responsible for 796 tags. Crews put up 2,873 tags and 1,827 incidents were done by one person.
The Graffiti Removal Staff also saw an increase in vandalism on utility boxes city wide and more use of markers on school zones, including signs, light poles and bus stops.
There were 169 graffiti arrests made in 2011, including one vandal who changed his tagging moniker, but was caught again. The 17-year-old was set to a six-month probation camp and ordered to pay an additional $21,000 in restitution to the City, as well as complete additional community service hours. The first time he was caught in 2010, he went by a different alias and was ordered to pay more than $56,000 in restitution and court fines, as well as perform 100 hours of community service. After sentencing, staff suspected that this was the same vandal, due to his distinctive handwriting style. The tagger will be on probation for up to three years.