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L.A. officials announce expansion of graffiti enforcement program

By Erin Richards Staff Writer

Posted: 03/04/2011 06:55:37 PM PST

Updated: 03/04/2011 07:13:25 PM PST


Los Angeles officials Friday announced the major expansion of a program that makes it easier to identify and arrest graffiti vandals.


The "Tracking and Automated Graffiti Removal System," a pilot program launched in 2009 in Van Nuys, equips city graffiti clean-up crews with smart phones to take pictures of graffiti, and then upload them into a database where police can use the information to track and arrest vandals.


"Graffiti blights neighborhoods, devalues property and has no place in our communities," Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said. "By using smart phones to gather evidence, the LAPD will be able to track graffiti and apprehend the criminals who vandalize our city."


Information from the TAGRS database led to the arrest of 19 graffiti vandals in early February. The suspects were arrested throughout Los Angeles County, including in Lawndale, Hawthorne and unincorporated Lennox, for causing more than $200,000 in damages, according to the LAPD.


In the immediate future, TAGRS will expand to LAPD's Harbor, Hollenbeck and Central Divisions. The program is expected to be activated in all 21 divisions within one year.


"Graffiti continues to be a thorn in the side of the community. Folks are fed up down here," said Senior Lead Officer Joe Buscaino of the Harbor Division.


"This will be another tool that will allow investigators to follow up on, identify and track these vandals."


Prosecuting vandals is a continuing



problem, Buscaino said. "If we don't document it, we don't have anything to follow up on."


The Van Nuys pilot program resulted in 15 arrests, associated with $68,000 worth of damage.


TAGRS originally started in Orange County and has expanded throughout Southern California. LAPD's database also has access to the Orange County database, allowing multiple organizations to coordinate efforts to catch criminals vandalizing in different districts.


"The systems can talk to each other and share information among law enforcement," said Anne Tremblay an assistant city attorney and supervisor of the anti-gang section. "We've had successful investigations, arrests and prosecutions based on information from the database."


The total cost of the program is $345,000 over two years. Currently, the city spends $10 million a year on graffiti removal.




City News Service contributed to this article.

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Wow, they're doing shit other parts of the country have been doing for years. Welcome to the future.


Not gonna get any easier from here.

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thats... really funny. you wonder where all of our moneys going? itd be in there best interest to leave it up until the next guy who was gonna bomb there anyway bombs over whats currently there.

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whoa wait..so you're saying they're taking pics of graff and writing down it's location? UN HEARD OF! I know BMC already said it, but fuck it.

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this isnt anything new.they have had these programs designed to triangulate the address of writers for almost half a decade,if not more.which is what im assuming this is,or something similar.


dont get hemmed up and you dont have much to worry about.and its probably a good idea to stay off of here lol.

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