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Camera Becomes New Weapon in War on Graffiti

Discussion in 'Third Rail' started by Secret, Dec 26, 2001.

  1. Secret

    Secret Elite Member

    Joined: Apr 20, 2000 Messages: 3,169 Likes Received: 0

    Vandalism: Officials say the motion-sensing device deters taggers, but critics say it just pushes the problem to new locations.

    Police and city officials are employing a new motion-sensing camera in their never-ending campaign against graffiti. But critics wonder if the device is pushing taggers to new locations rather than solving the multimillion-dollar problem.
    The Flashcam-530, made by Q-Star Technologies of Chatsworth, features a modified 35-millimeter camera triggered by a motion detector. When activated, the unit plays a recorded announcement and takes photographs.

    Several Los Angeles police divisions have obtained cameras, including four purchased by Operation Cleansweep, the Department of Public Works' anti-graffiti program. Seven more cameras are on the way. Other cities and agencies throughout the state have also been utilizing the cameras. Officials hope that the $2,495 cameras will pay for themselves by preventing the need to constantly repaint heavily tagged areas. More than $8 million citywide and $87 million statewide was spent in 1999 to remove graffiti, according to a survey.

    The camera has prevented gang graffiti and other crimes on a wall in east Hollywood since July, said Officer Joe Bunch of the Hollywood Division. Before the camera, bought by the Hollywood Police Support Assn., was installed, "you'd have four gangs tagging on the wall at any one time," he said.

    Now, the wall, at Lemon Grove Avenue off Western Avenue, has stayed unmarked for months. And people no longer congregate on the corner for narcotics sales and prostitution, Bunch said.

    He acknowledges that such illegal activity "probably has moved back up to Sunset, but it has deterred this activity" at that spot.

    A similar situation exists at Venice Boulevard and Toberman Street in Pico-Union, the crossroads of two rival gangs.

    Orosman Vizcaino, 72, and his son Rick, 36, have chased taggers away from the wall of Carrera Apparel, their family's clothing manufacturing business, for years. Now the camera is scaring taggers away.

    "They turn around the corner and there's a flash," the elder Vizcaino said.
    Rick Vizcaino said in the last few weeks, gangs have targeted a site half a block away.

    Because the camera seems to move the illegal action elsewhere, not end it, Rampart Division detectives are not sold on the idea.

    "The cameras have not had any direct impact, no matter where they are placed, in reducing graffiti in the Rampart area," Det. Rick Ramos said.

    Other types of surveillance cameras have taken a beating at the hands of taggers, Ramos said.

    "They rip them off," he said. "They break them, they turn them, they shoot them up. It's more of a game for them. If they are going to do their illegal activity, they are going to make sure [the cameras] are not working."

    The battery-powered Flashcam is designed to withstand attack. It is housed in a steel case. Its lens and flash unit are protected by a bullet-resistant cover, which the manufacturer says can withstand a 9-millimeter handgun bullet.

    After the camera's film has been used, its sensor and flash still work. Even so, Bunch climbs a ladder every four or five days to insert a new roll of film.

    Officials have not made any arrests based on photos taken by the camera at any location. Rampart Division Sgt. Nick Aldana said pictures are seldom clear enough to identify the person responsible for the graffiti.

    Officer Ron Stilz, who coordinates the Van Nuys Community Tagger Task Force, agrees on the need for better-quality cameras and photos.

    In a Van Nuys Division test, the camera successfully curbed graffiti at one location, but the task force still decided not to purchase the equipment. The officers had hoped to obtain photographs of sufficient quality to prosecute offenders.

    Vandalism that causes more than $400 worth of damage is punishable as a felony. For a first-time offender, that charge can be reduced to a misdemeanor, said David Traum, head deputy of the complaints division of the Los Angeles County district attorney's office.

    The Van Nuys task force is considering buying a video surveillance system that is effective in low light and costs about $5,000, Stilz said.

    Ken Anderson, who helped develop the Flashcam with his partner, Ralph Hasenbalg, said customers are told of the unit's limitations.

    "The key word is deterring graffiti, or trash dumping or breaking and entering," he said. "If you buy this thing on the idea you're going to get [high-quality] pictures, you're probably going to be disappointed."

    Since the Wilshire Division installed a camera at a graffiti hot spot earlier this month, no new marks have appeared on the wall along Washington Boulevard at Normandie Avenue.

    Taggers also avoid a long wall bordering Angelus Rosedale Cemetery on the opposite side of the street, Officer Eva Perry said.

    Perry said preventing gang graffiti prevents gang violence. After one gang places its tag on the wall, another inevitably follows and crosses it out, she said.

    "Eventually it leads to two gangs fighting or some kind of gang activity," Perry said.
    In Devonshire, the camera has stopped graffiti in a Granada Hills alley about a block from Kennedy High School, said Officer Sean Reinhardt. A homeowner whose property had been hit by an onslaught of gang graffiti "was ecstatic," Reinhardt said.
    The latest camera to be installed went up Dec. 12 at an unused rail line and tunnel in Palms that has been a popular site for taggers for decades. The area, known on the street as "the motor yard," was once part of the Exposition Line. Now the property of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the tracks and a tunnel lie secluded between the Santa Monica Freeway and National Boulevard.

    Anyone entering the site is trespassing on MTA property, so the camera has been set to activate on any motion. At busier locations, the motion detector can be set on a delay to avoid photographing people just walking by.

    The Palms graffiti doesn't stay within the seldom-seen borders of this unused tunnel. Businesses and residences in the area suffer the effects of crimes other than tagging.
    "Now they are coming and drinking," said Saied Isaacson of Cheviot Plaza Properties, which owns a building in the area. The company repaints every two weeks.

    Officer Anthony Vasquez saw two teenage boys walk up to the Palms camera, activating the recorded announcement: "Stop! It is illegal to spray graffiti here! We have just taken your photograph. We will use this photograph to prosecute you. Leave now!"

    Vasquez said the teenagers threw a piece of wood at the camera. When they realized their photos were being taken, however, "they put their hoods on real quick and started running," he said.
    Times staff writer Milton Carrero Galarza contributed to this report.
  2. CAPS

    CAPS Member

    Joined: Oct 23, 2001 Messages: 658 Likes Received: 0

    ..........2 dollar closeout holloween masks are looking better and better.

    CAPS........speakin of your sister, i dissed her,I rode her last week and she gave me this sticky blister.

    www.sprapex.com... supplying good Euro paint for all the U.S.
  3. SeYnO9

    SeYnO9 Member

    Joined: Dec 21, 2001 Messages: 677 Likes Received: 0
    fuck Breakin the camera spray the fuckin lense man!
  4. ~KRYLON2~

    ~KRYLON2~ 12oz Loyalist

    Joined: Oct 13, 2001 Messages: 10,493 Likes Received: 211
    throw rocks at it, or better yet buy a ten dollar paintball gun and use the camera as target practice
  5. ~KRYLON2~

    ~KRYLON2~ 12oz Loyalist

    Joined: Oct 13, 2001 Messages: 10,493 Likes Received: 211
    im feel'n you on that seyn09
  6. Mbezl

    Mbezl New Jack

    Joined: Dec 19, 2001 Messages: 25 Likes Received: 0
    there are motion camers here people just wear masks or fuckem up
  7. KRAUT

    KRAUT Junior Member

    Joined: Oct 19, 2001 Messages: 247 Likes Received: 1
    HA! A lot of yards in Germany and in bigger cities throughout Europe have already had motion-sensing and warm-sensitive and real cameras...and the cops come in helicopters...:heated: :heated: :heated: :heated:
  8. Secs Oner

    Secs Oner Senior Member

    Joined: May 17, 2000 Messages: 1,111 Likes Received: 0
    hey mom... are we a police state yet?
  9. mothrasmomma

    mothrasmomma Guest

    whaats new? they usually only got shit like that on the walls tho...the rooftops is fair game.
  10. bigguy

    bigguy Senior Member

    Joined: Oct 12, 2001 Messages: 1,557 Likes Received: 0
    hmm makes you think..
  11. GoBiloe

    GoBiloe Guest

    cover the protective glass in etch bath... easy. or spray, but that could come off. or just get a fuckin baseball bat. shit seems very foolish.
  12. SmellyCouch

    SmellyCouch New Jack

    Joined: Sep 6, 2001 Messages: 76 Likes Received: 0
  13. T.T Boy

    T.T Boy Dirty Dozen Crew

    Joined: May 18, 2001 Messages: 21,803 Likes Received: 41
    we have the ghetto bird here too..... with a city with not even 1 million people our police force has quite the budget.
  14. DRAKE

    DRAKE New Jack

    Joined: Dec 10, 2001 Messages: 19 Likes Received: 0
    wear a mask spray the lens break the damn thing shit anyone who runs away from a camera should of just stayed home in the first place
  15. Some1

    Some1 12oz Loyalist

    Joined: Oct 13, 2001 Messages: 14,836 Likes Received: 93

    now thats style!