Graffiti Safewipes In The News

  • The Downey Beat, December 20th, 2011

    City seeing slight uptick in graffiti

    DOWNEY – If you thought you were seeing a little more graffiti lately, your hunch was right.

    The amount of graffiti in town has gradually increased since September, according to city statistics.

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    DOWNEY – If you thought you were seeing a little more graffiti lately, your hunch was right.

    The amount of graffiti in town has gradually increased since September, according to city statistics.

    The amount of tagging covered or cleaned by the city's abatement team increased from 58,000 square feet in September to 61,840 square feet in November, according to data from the city.

    Public rights of way—such as streets and sidewalks — took the brunt of the increase, according to city statistics.

    Apollo Park gets tagged more frequently than any other place in the city, with the city's graffiti removal crew covering or washing off between 1,800 and 2,700 square feet of graffiti each month.

    So far, it looks like graffiti will be down in December, city workers said.

    For the most part, the vandalism is done by teenaged taggers, said Lisa Fox, who leads the Downey's graffiti abatement team.

    "In Downey, we really don't have many gangs," she said. "It's really just kids trying to outdo one another, they're acting like dogs, all trying to pee on one another's territory."

    A lot of taggers are from good families and are involved in sports at local high schools, she said.

    The city spends about $270,000 annually covering and removing graffiti, according to Downey's budget.

    "They give me the right tools and the best products," Fox said. "I talk to other people who do this same thing in other cities, and they say there is no way their city would let them use some of the stuff I have."

    The city's truck is outfitted with paint sprayers, a pressure washer and a collection of solvents and chemicals.

    And Fox tracks the graffiti by using a specially outfitted cell phone camera that puts coordinates and dates on digital pictures, which are then automatically filed into a database.

    During a morning last week, Fox and another city worker spent nearly an hour cleaning an alley near Downey Avenue and Imperial Highway.

    On a normal day, Fox covers or washes off 1,500 square feet of graffiti. On the busiest days, that number can reach 4,000.

    The quick cleanup discourages taggers, she said.

    Fox laughed at her dedication to the job.

    "Sometimes I see it on the way to the work and I can barely wait to get out of my truck and clean it," she said.

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  • Los Angeles Times, November 4th, 2011

    Occupy Oakland debated at public forum

    Cleaners remove graffiti at the site of an Occupy Oakland protest.

    Cleaners remove graffiti at the site of an Occupy Oakland protest. (Photo Credit: Paul Sakuma / Associated Press)

    That situation was in full display around the Civic Center area as city workers boarded up shattered store windows and scrubbed away graffiti. Meanwhile, Occupy Oakland activists struggled to distance their movement from the vandals they said were intent on co-opting its message.

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    Hundreds of Oakland residents cram into City Hall to defend or criticize the movement, decry the violence and reach consensus about what comes next. Consensus seemed to be far off, however.

    Reporting from Oakland -- Several hundred residents crammed into Oakland City Hall on Thursday evening to debate this city's Occupy movement, decry the violence that has marred it and attempt to reach some consensus about what comes next.

    But as the meeting wore on, that seemed unlikely.

    Molly Bolt approached the lectern, her baby in her arms. The 30-year-old's voice shook as she chided city leaders for razing the protesters' original encampment.

    "You cannot beat us into submission," Bolt said. "You are just beating on the bricks of a loose dam."

    When Interim Police Chief Howard Jordan spoke, he was met with cries of "lies" when he asserted that officers had used tear gas and other projectiles only after being attacked by protesters.

    The City Council president called for order.

    The crowd called on Jordan to resign.

    The meeting came one day after a citywide protest had drawn more than 7,000 largely peaceful demonstrators before devolving once again into violence.

    Riot police arrested more than 100 people in the pre-dawn hours Thursday who had taken over an empty building, armed themselves with bottles, rocks and firecrackers, and set blazes. Five protesters and three officers were injured, Jordan said.

    Many who spoke at City Hall expressed pride over the massive turnout and downplayed the conflict.

    "I am here to say that yesterday was a beautiful and amazing day," resident Pamela Drake said. "What happened late last night should not overshadow what a beautiful thing happened."

    But business leaders voiced a starkly different message.

    "The situation we find ourselves in is absolutely unacceptable," said Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce President Joe Haraburda. "We have made our position clear.… We want Occupy Oakland closed."

    That situation was in full display around the Civic Center area as city workers boarded up shattered store windows and scrubbed away graffiti. Meanwhile, Occupy Oakland activists struggled to distance their movement from the vandals they said were intent on co-opting its message.

    Officials characterized those arrested as a relatively small group of black-clad provocateurs who favor face masks and confrontational tactics. But the violence stung the body of protesters occupying the encampment near City Hall.

    "We have never ever acted like this in this democratic stronghold," said Regi Hayes, a 35-year-old artist, as he took his turn at the camp microphone earlier Thursday and pointed to a "stream of negativity" - including signs that said: "Kill the cops."

    In an effort to make amends to area business owners, Occupy Oakland supporters donned rubber gloves and joined the cleanup. A sign someone posted amid the damage read: "This is not the story."

    "I don't like it," said a subdued Leandro Marques, a 33 -year-old audio engineer who came from his home in Berkeley when he saw the damage on several blogs.

    "We've been protesting to change inequality that's been going on in this country for a long time, and I want it to be focused," he said as he scrubbed. "We don't want our movement to become an anarchist movement."

    But for some, the protesters' goodwill gestures may not be enough.

    Hundreds of Oakland residents cram into City Hall to defend or criticize the movement, decry the violence and reach consensus about what comes next. Consensus seemed to be far off, however.

    Noemi Perez, 42, who manages The Juice Joint in the plaza, said a customer came in Thursday to apologize for her absence these last few weeks. "She said she didn't want to come down here," said Perez, whose business has dropped markedly.

    "We are happy because we are OK," she said of her unscathed storefront. "On the other hand we don't feel good because everything is dirty … and broken."

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  • Sign Builder Illustrated, May 24th, 2011

    The Art of Graffiti Removal

    Graffiti removal is treated like a menial job, and it's not, says Adam Kopcho, director of Urban Restoration Group, U.S., Inc., in Glendale, California. "In the end, you're cleaning and restoring people's property without showing evidence you've been through."

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    Graffiti removal is treated like a menial job, and it's not, says Adam Kopcho, director of Urban Restoration Group, U.S., Inc., in Glendale, California. "In the end, you're cleaning and restoring people's property without showing evidence you've been through."

    For Kopcho, whose company sells only products relating to graffiti removal, business is booming. Municipalities throughout California are using one of his company's products - Graffiti "Safewipes" - to encourage volunteers to fight the blight of tagged signage.

    Dan Rasper is part of an anti-graffiti movement that is sweeping the country, due in part to the convenience factor associated with disposable, biodegradable cleaning wipes. In a February 6 article in The Signal in Santa Clarita, California, reporter Laura Dixon said Rasper, an Imperial County firefighter, received the "Person of Character and Kindness Award." The Santa Clarita Parks, Recreation, and Community Services Commission bestowed the award on Feb. 3, 2011, for Rasper's efforts to clean off more than 2,000 graffiti-tags on public property over the past two years.

    [Rasper] often pulls his car over and searches for his stash of graffiti wipes, if he notices any new tags while driving around town," reported Dixon.

    Graffiti wipes are effective (in part because they are convenient to use) as battling the vandals is more likely to succeed in an area when graffiti is quickly removed.

    "It's a big sociological issue," says Kopcho. "If a sign is placed in a graffiti-prone area, a sign builder has two choices: using a protective coating that makes graffiti easier to remove, or erecting a sign that can be quickly cleaned by graffiti wipes."

    For graffiti-prone areas, "they have to think about specifying materials with the most gentle of product," or using a laminate or protective coating, says Kopcho, as some products made of harsh solvents can dry films, and they can become brittle, losing their protective qualities.

    According to Kopcho's company Web site, Greg McAllister, community coordinator for the Fresno Police Department Graffiti Bureau, says 3,300 volunteers are using Urban Restoration Group's Safewipes on a weekly basis - 900 volunteers in just one morning.

    Randy Frees, president of Soy Technologies, LLC in Nicholasville, Kentucky, says his company's graffiti removal product line has been certified by the EPA as eco-friendly and has also qualified for the USDA's BioPreferred program. The line includes industrial-sized graffiti wipes. Frees hasn't seen a big increase in demand for the industrial-sized wipes. However many of his customers have used trigger sprays and the graffiti-removing products that come in industrial canisters.

    Frees says the removers have a soy-oil methyl-ester base and are "safe for the user, the earth, and the air," offering a "legitimate alternative to petrochemicals."

    Robert Haselwood of Berryton, Kansas is part of a group that has promoted the use of soy in graffiti-removal products. Haselwood lives on a hard-to-find, dead-end road in a rural area. Fifteen years ago, graffiti mysteriously sprouted on his shed one night, and it's still there.

    "There was no way to use that for communication," says Haselwood with a laugh. "No one can see it."

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  • The Police Beat, Winter 2011

    Officers Strive to Reduce Graffiti Throughout Alexandria

    Officers used the graffiti removal product, from Graffiti Removal, Inc., to clean up local playground in the Hume Springs community.

    Officers used the graffiti removal product, from Graffiti Removal, Inc., to clean up local playground in the Hume Springs community. (Photo Credit: The Police Beat)

    While patrolling their beat, Officers Nicholas Ruggiero and Matthew Kramarik noticed that graffiti was all too common among the traffic signs and playgrounds in the Hume Springs community. They submitted a request to have the graffiti removed through the City's Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities.

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    While patrolling their beat, Officers Nicholas Ruggiero and Matthew Kramarik noticed that graffiti was all too common among the traffic signs and playgrounds in the Hume Springs community. They submitted a request to have the graffiti removed through the City's Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities. Unfortunately, they discovered that there was a long waiting period to have graffiti removed after a request was filed. Due to budget cuts, the Graffiti Removal Team had been absorbed into the Regular Maintenance Team for the City. With no team dedicated to graffiti removal, the time between submitting a report and having the graffiti removed significantly increased.

    Officers Ruggiero and Kramarik decided to research the procedures that big cities use for graffiti removal. Through their research the officers found a company called Graffiti Removal, Inc. The officers contacted the company president to inquire about their graffiti removal products. Through this conversation, the company sent the officers a packet to test the product. The packet contained samples of the product, videos and all supplies necessary to remove graffiti from all test surfaces.

    Hopeful but skeptical, Officers Ruggiero and Kramarik went to Hume Springs to test out the products. The first test they conducted was on a No Parking sign that was covered in graffiti and was scheduled to be replaced by the City. Amazingly, the graffiti removal product removed every trace of graffiti from the sign. The sign looked brand new and, as a result, no longer needs to be replaced. The officers continued to test the product throughout the Hume Springs area. They were able to remove graffiti from surfaces throughout the community, including the playground at Cora Kelly Elementary School.

    Impressed by the graffiti removal product, Officers Ruggiero and Kramarik presented the product and its effectiveness in cleaning up the community at Hume Springs next civic association meeting. The civic association immediately agreed to buy more supplies to continue improving the neighborhood.

    The cost for the City to repair the graffiti damage in the Hume Springs area would have been $6,823.00. The supplies, purchased by the Hume Springs Civic Association, cost $12 and allowed the residents to clean up the graffiti that had plagued their community. With the community now graffiti free, residents were inspired to further beautify their community. On November 6, residents got together to plant new plants and mulch areas throughout the neighborhood. In addition, there have been no new graffiti marks or destruction of property complaints since the initial graffiti removal on September 3.

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  • The Daily Breeze, October 30th, 2010

    Lawndale works to wipe out graffiti using Graffiti Safewipes

    Lawndale Volunteer uses Graffiti Safewipes to wipe away nuisance graffiti

    Lawndale Volunteer uses Graffiti Safewipes to wipe away nuisance graffiti (Photo Credit: Chuck Bennett)

    On Friday, about 20 parents gathered to scour the neighborhood surrounding Green Elementary School for graffiti, using city-supplied "safewipes" - a nontoxic, biodegradable towel made of citrus oils - to remove any sign of the vandalism.

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    Some may see it as an artistic form of self-expression. Others, a pesky act of vandalism.

    But in Lawndale, graffiti is no small matter. So on a recent Friday morning, a group of parents gathered in front of an elementary school to wage a counterattack in the small urban community's all-out war against the vandalism.

    There, Mariano Velazquez quickly went to work, searching for any sign of graffiti in front of Green Elementary School.

    "This was full of graffiti last time," Velazquez said, almost apologetic, as he scoured sign poles for black markings. "So I guess it's working."

    Velazquez is on the front line of a citywide campaign in the seemingly never-ending war against graffiti. Seeing an increase in vandalism and defacement over the past several years, Lawndale officials have begun organizing communitywide cleanups and public outreach sessions to spread awareness about their campaign.

    An outside agency formerly handled graffiti cleanup in town, but the work was brought in-house last year as concerns over vandalism began to increase. City officials hired two employees to cover the community seven days a week, eight hours a day, pressure-washing and painting over walls splashed with graffiti.

    In September alone, the crew cleaned up about 840 acts of vandalism.

    "It's been a serious effort," said Marlene Miyoshi, Lawndale's public works director. "We seem to have slowed it down."

    So far this year the city has dedicated more than $80,000 directly to the cleanup effort. And last year, under the City Council's urging, a five-member anti-graffiti task force was organized to respond to complaints from residents and brainstorm new ideas for combating the defacement.

    On Thursday, members of the task force walked up and down Hawthorne Boulevard speaking with business owners about the city's attempt to wipe out graffiti.

    City Councilman James Osborne believes the city's overall cost to combat graffiti - including materials, paint and increased staffing - may have been more than $170,000 last year.

    But whatever the cost, city officials say it has paid off.

    "The problem ebbs and flows," said Debbie Holland, Lawndale's municipal services manager and leader of the city's Anti-Graffiti Community Task Force. "But there's much more public awareness. It seems like we're seeing a change."

    And arrests of known taggers by the Sheriff's Department has only helped the city's war on graffiti.

    Among the most high profile was the September arrest of a suspected 19-year-old tagger believed to be responsible for a one-man graffiti spree across the city that cost Lawndale taxpayers at least $8,000.

    Marcos Flores Jr. was taken into custody after deputies served a search warrant at his family's home on 167 th Street. Inside his bedroom, they discovered the same graffiti moniker "Bosoe 267" - that business owners and residents found spread throughout the city.

    The joint effort, officials say, has dealt a severe blow to vandals and taggers.

    "Those arrests put a little added pressure on some individuals," said Osborne, an outspoken advocate of ending the city's graffiti problem. Osborne said he spends several hours each week cleaning graffiti as he walks down streets or strolls through the city's parks.

    "I'm a realist; I know it may never go away," Osborne said. "It has been a problem for years. Sometimes it seems to lessen, then it'll come back. But in recent months it really seems to have been better."

    And Velazquez, a 40-year-old father of two, concedes the problem has little chance of ending anytime soon. But, he said, awareness is spreading. Parents are starting to notice the clean walls and joining the effort.

    On Friday, about 20 parents gathered to scour the neighborhood surrounding Green Elementary School for graffiti, using city-supplied "safewipes" - a nontoxic, biodegradable towel made of citrus oils - to remove any sign of the vandalism.

    Velazquez said true awareness begins in the classroom. He believes local schools should develop more anti-graffiti programs for students.

    "I'm convinced this can be done," Velazquez said, adding that although Lawndale may not have large-scale fundraising or volunteer power to combat graffiti like the nearby affluent beach communities may have, he's confident the community will prevail in the war on graffiti.

    "Here, it's not an issue of money or culture," he said. "It's an issue of education."

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  • CBS47.TV, May 27th, 2010

    New Product Wipes Graffiti Away

    "Graffiti Safewipes" are a new, inexpensive solution to erasing the graffiti problem around town. Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin recognized the makers of the product during her State of the City Address Thursday. "They're yours to take home. you can keep them in your car, and when you see graffiti on public property, like I did yesterday at Mariposa and H street. You can go ahead and get out and clean it up," said Swearengin. The mayor hopes residents take this small step to keep the city looking clean.

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    "Graffiti Safewipes" are a new, inexpensive solution to erasing the graffiti problem around town.

    Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin recognized the makers of the product during her State of the City Address Thursday. "They're yours to take home. you can keep them in your car, and when you see graffiti on public property, like I did yesterday at Mariposa and H street. You can go ahead and get out and clean it up," said Swearengin.

    The mayor hopes residents take this small step to keep the city looking clean.

    Citrus oil in the wipes breaks down paint that's how the graffiti is removed.

    But it's important to test a small area first because they might also remove other types of paint.

    You can buy the kits at Fresno Ag.

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  • KMPH-TV, April 24th, 2010

    Generation Green Day

    On April 24th, the citizens of Fresno were brought together to help clean up their city. Picking up trash, building new dirt paths and graffiti removal were all on the agenda. The Graffiti 'Safewipes' Handy 6 Packs were the ideal choice for the sponsors of this event to hand out to volunteers.

  • Telegraph Journal, April 14th, 2009

    Graffiti remedy

    SAINT JOHN - While trying to put an end to the graffiti that marks many buildings in the south end is akin to pushing a rock uphill, officials are always trying to find a better way to remove the scribblings and drawings.

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    SAINT JOHN - While trying to put an end to the graffiti that marks many buildings in the south end is akin to pushing a rock uphill, officials are always trying to find a better way to remove the scribblings and drawings.

    Police and members of the community group PULSE met at the Vineyard Church to see a removal product in action. Modestly called the World's Best Graffiti System, the product did what it claimed to do - removed graffiti on a brick wall without harming the surface and with minimal effort. The product comes in a kit that deals with a host of surfaces and types of graffiti. At $240 per kit, which can remove 700 to 800 square-feet of graffiti, it's not inexpensive.

    Halifax and Moncton are currently using the kits.

    Colin McDonald, a member of PULSE, said he'd like to enlist companies to buy the kits and then PULSE would muster the volunteers to remove the graffiti. He can be reached at colinmcdonald@nbnet.nb.ca.

    "That 'south end' has been written on that wall for years," McDonald said, pointing to one of the messages scrawled on the wall, or tags, as they're called.

    In many cities, tags are used by gangs to announce their presence or mark their territory. While there are such tags in the city, Const. Jeremy Edwards said in Saint John it's more a matter of seeking attention.

    "It just invites a host of other activity that's not good," Edwards said.

    The tagged walls, he said, become hangouts and trouble soon follows.

    "It's not big, fancy murals. It's not people trying to communicate with each other."

    One of the tags simply read "eyes."

    "Some kid around here is known as Eyes," Edwards said.

    McDonald said graffiti will never be eradicated, but showing residents that some people are willing to take the time to remove the wall writing builds a movement of pride in the community.

    "If we take pride in our community, others will follow," McDonald said.

    Edwards said graffiti tagging isn't expected to wane in popularity any time soon.

    "If you don't see it as a problem now, just wait," Edwards said.

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  • The Signal, September 6th, 2008

    Anti-graffiti squad hits back: City team washes away tags

    Ryan Faretta, who works for the city's graffiti removal team, uses a pressure washer to remove tags from a wall on Whites Canyon Road in Canyon Country last May. Less than 15 minutes was needed to remove the grafitti.

    Ryan Faretta, who works for the city's graffiti removal team, uses a pressure washer to remove tags from a wall on Whites Canyon Road in Canyon Country last May. Less than 15 minutes was needed to remove the grafitti. (Photo Credit: Karen Elowitt/Signal Staff)

    It's 9 o'clock in the morning and it's already a blistering 90 degrees out, but Ryan Faretta and Julian Woodard are hard at work out on the streets of Canyon Country.

    Sweating it out under the blazing sun with their pressure washers and vacuums, they don't miss a single spot as they expertly scrape, wipe and flush away all signs of graffiti from a wall, a sidewalk and a palm tree trunk along Whites Canyon Road.

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    It's 9 o'clock in the morning and it's already a blistering 90 degrees out, but Ryan Faretta and Julian Woodard are hard at work out on the streets of Canyon Country.

    Sweating it out under the blazing sun with their pressure washers and vacuums, they don't miss a single spot as they expertly scrape, wipe and flush away all signs of graffiti from a wall, a sidewalk and a palm tree trunk along Whites Canyon Road.

    As Faretta finishes eradicating the last few remnants of paint, Woodard heads to his vehicle to start inputting the details of the job into his on-board computer, which tracks the place, time and cost of the job.

    Within 15 minutes, this two-man hit squad is done and ready to go. They jump into their truck, emblazoned with the words "City of Santa Clarita Graffiti Removal Program," and move on to their next destination, just few hundred yards down the road.

    Faretta and Woodard are two of the six part-time city employees whose job is to clean graffiti from the walls and washes of Santa Clarita - and they are doing a pretty good job of it, according to city officials.

    "We get a lot of positive feedback on how quickly graffiti comes down and how efficient the crews are at coming down to areas that get tagged on weekly or even daily basis," said Nico Marinelli, graffiti removal coordinator for the City of Santa Clarita.

    That efficiency is a result of the efforts of a fleet of dedicated city employees, an army of volunteers, plus a healthy dose of funds and state-of-the-art equipment.

    All removal requests start in Kristine Saunders' office. When a member of the public notices graffiti in his or her neighborhood and calls the graffiti hotline or sends a request through the city's Web site, the message goes directly to Saunders' desk. She inputs the relevant data into the graffiti tracking database, then assigns it to a cleanup crew.

    Cleanup requests are usually divided into three geographical areas, with one cleanup crew assigned to each area.

    Once they get the assignment, the crew heads out with a truck, pressure washer and an array of other cleaning materials. When they get to their destination they first take photographs of the "tag" (or tags), then set out to eradicate them.

    Tags on walls and sidewalks are first sprayed with a solution called Bare Brick, which helps loosen the paint. Then they fire up the pressure washer to force the remaining pigment off the surface. If the tag is found in a wash or other area that is inaccessible to equipment, they paint over it instead of removing it.

    Once they finish, the guys log all the vital details of the job into their on-board computer, which syncs up with the database back in Saunders' office. They document the amount of time the job took, the method of removal, what the tag says, how it was applied (i.e. with spray paint or marker), and if the marks were made by a tagging crew or a "one-er" (individual).

    The computer automatically calculates the cost of the cleanup, using a base charge of $357.80 per incident, based on what the cleanup would cost if all the equipment was rented by the hour.

    This level of documentation is an invaluable tool to help the Sheriff's department with their graffiti-busting efforts. It allows them to track not only who is tagging and where, but if an individual is caught and convicted, the database can calculate how much restitution he or she owes.

    Marinelli said that the graffiti program gets anywhere from 1000 to 1300 removal requests a month. Some of the calls pertain to the same piece of graffiti, so the actual number of tags is probably somewhat less than that, but it is a large number nevertheless.

    To keep up with demand, the cleanup crews work five days a week, eight hours a day, plus one Saturday a month. They can usually handle about 20-25 removal requests a day.

    Community effort

    To augment the efforts of the paid crews, dozens of volunteers from around Santa Clarita regularly turn out to assist them.

    TAG (Teens Against Graffiti) crews several dozen strong head out the third Saturday of every month to do their part. Hundreds of others culled from church groups, Scout clubs, and local elementary and high schools also help out on an ongoing basis.

    "A lot of people need to get volunteer hours for school or scout projects and we mention graffiti removal to them when they call us," said Hope Horner, community services administrator for the City of Santa Clarita.

    In fact, graffiti abatement used to be an all-volunteer effort until last summer. Graffiti removal in Santa Clarita was started in 1991 by the P.R.I.D.E. committee - a partnership of community members and city staff working on a volunteer basis. The city supported them with resources such as paint and a truck.

    But as the city grew, so did graffiti. Graffiti, most of which is gang-related, is currently one of the most common and destructive crimes to plague the Santa Clarita Valley, according the Sheriff's department.

    "As wonderful and dedicated as the volunteers were, it became too much for them to handle," Horner said. "So the city took over the program in August 2007 and formalized it."

    Funds were allocated to the program, which allowed the city to purchase the trucks, hire employees and create a database. In fiscal year 2007-2008 a half million dollars was spent on personnel, rewards and equipment.

    Another part of the formalization process was the creation of the Graffiti Task Force, which brings together the city, the county, the Sheriff's department, and various public and private entities such as Time Warner and Southern California Edison, whose equipment is frequently targeted by taggers.

    These organizations are unified in their dedication not only to the expeditious removal of graffiti, but to the capture and conviction of taggers, as well as prevention and education programs.

    Reward offered

    The city provides a monetary reward of up to $500 to community members who provide information that leads to the arrest and conviction of taggers. It also sends representatives to local schools to do outreach presentations about how graffiti affects the community.

    The efforts have paid off, according to Horner.

    "130 people were arrested between January and May of 2008," she said. "In 2007 we arrested and convicted 150, so we are on pace this year to double that number."

    And the residents of Santa Clarita seem to be overwhelmingly appreciative, according to Woodard and Faretta. Their work can be grueling at times, but the kudos they get makes it rewarding as well.

    "Ever since we put the signs on our trucks we've had a big show of appreciation," Woodard said. "One guy scared me the other day. He just appeared out of nowhere and said 'thank you!'"

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