Definition of Graffiti
Graffiti is defined as the unauthorized inscription, word, figure, mark, or design that is written, marked, etched, scratched, drawn, or painted on real or personal property.
Taggers are vandals that adopt a nickname, or moniker, and sometimes associate with a tagging crew similar to street gangs. However, their motivations are very different. Instead of fighting their tagger war with weapons, as street gangs do, the taggers' weapon of choice is spray paint. The nickname taggers adopt is called a "tag." Taggers write their tag repetitively, and by doing this, the tagger believes he or she will gain recognition or fame as a graffiti vandal. Taggers will pick places such as freeway walls or overpasses, or a block wall along a busy street. They prefer doing their tagging during early morning hours to avoid detection by area residents, motorists and the police.
Why Juveniles Become Taggers
- Identity and Recognition
- Self Protection
- Ego Fulfillment or Self Esteem
- Peer Pressure
There are several signs that will help parents identify if their children belong to a tagging crew.
- Books and homework: Look for tag names on the covers of their books and homework.
- Tagging apparel: Handwritten graffiti on their clothes, insides of hats, and on shoes.
- Possession of markers and spray paint. Also, paint on their hands and clothes.
- Latex gloves or just the fingertips of the gloves, used to keep paint residue off their hands.
- Scribing tools: Sandpaper, sharpened drill bits, etching or glass cutters used to tag glass.
- Spray can tips in their pockets. Each tip gives a different spray effect and some carry a variety of tips.
Reporting Graffiti On The Hotline
If you notice graffiti—gang or tagging—in your neighborhood or business area, call the Graffiti Hotline at 760-839-4633. The voice mail prompt will ask you a series of questions. The message will be referred to the Escondido Police Department. A written graffiti report and photos of the graffiti will be taken. The City of Escondido tries to have graffiti removed/painted over within 48-72 hours.