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City reports slight decrease in graffiti compared to last year

Posted: February 14, 2013 7:04 p.m.
Updated: February 14, 2013 7:04 p.m.

Despite a decrease in graffiti incidents in 2012 compared to 2011, Santa Clarita clean-up crews still removed an average of 17 graffiti tags per day last year, according to a city report released Thursday.

The number of graffiti tags removed fell from 6,333 in 2011 to 6,280 in 2012, according to the Santa Clarita Graffiti Task Force.

The decline is even steeper since 2010, when crews cleaned up 9,819 tags around the city, said Cynthia Llerenas, a city human services supervisor.

Llerenas attributed the decline to the city’s three-pronged, zero-tolerance approach to dealing with graffiti vandalism: quick arrests, quick removal and outreach.

Part of that outreach effort is the collaborative nature of the task force itself. The task force is made up of representatives from the city, Los Angeles County, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, California Highway Patrol and the William S. Hart Union High School District.

Partnerships such as these allow the city to make clear the potential repercussions of vandal activity, Llerenas said.

“We want people to see our trucks; we want to let people know we’re out there making sure the community is graffiti free,” Llerenas said.

Almost half of all reported incidents in 2012 occurred in Canyon Country, according to the task force. Canyon Country covers the largest area in the Santa Clarita Valley among its communities.

More than 1,000 of those tags were removed in the annexation areas of Jakes Way and Fair Oaks Ranch after the city took over the areas in September, Llerenas said.

Other graffiti “hot spots” in Canyon Country included the area around Sierra Vista Junior High School, the Santa Clara River Trail and the intersection of Golden Valley Road and Centre Pointe Parkway.

The area with the second most graffiti removals was Valencia, with 1,709 removed tags. Commonly tagged areas included the intersection of Bouquet Canyon and Soledad Canyon roads and the bridges along San Francisquito Trail.

Deputies from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station also arrested 111 alleged graffiti vandals in 2012, according to the report. Of those, 56 were adults.

Sheriff’s deputies also arrested 10 “prolific taggers” — those who combined to cause more than $100,000 in damage, Llerenas said.

The city also recouped more than $70,000 in restitution from vandals in 2012, Llerenas said.
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