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Graffiti outbreak hitting city hard

DALLAS -- A rash of graffiti incidents around Dallas in recent weeks have property owners in cleanup mode and police and code enforcement on the lookout for the "artist" or "artists" responsible.

February 27, 2013

DALLAS -- A rash of graffiti incidents around Dallas in recent weeks have property owners in cleanup mode and police and code enforcement on the lookout for the "artist" or "artists" responsible.

At least 50 incidents of graffiti, or tagging, have been reported to the city in recent weeks. City officials say the tagging isn't gang related.

"It seems to be someone who enjoys doing this," said Dallas City Manager Ron Foggin. "It's vandalism rather than communication between gangs."

Most of the graffiti is what is known as "signatures," or the way taggers identify themselves. The culprit(s) is also scrawling large mailing labels with graffiti and sticking them to objects around town.

"That's unusual, especially in a small city," Foggin said. "They haven't spared anything on this."

The person or people doing the tagging in this case don't discriminate either, using large or small areas, private and public property, as canvasses.

"They are doing a good job of spreading the love," Foggin said.

That "love" is costly to property owners and the city. Victims are responsible for cleaning up the graffiti within 48 hours from when it is discovered and the city has to investigate and document each case.

"Everybody has been quick to get it taken care of and has been proactive," Foggin said. "It's important to clean it up in a timely manner so it doesn't look like it's an epidemic."

Also, quick removal leaves the culprit with nothing to show for his or her effort.

"We want it cleaned up quickly so they can't go by and admire their work and we don't want people to try to improve upon their work," Foggin said.

Foggin is hopeful code enforcement and police investigation time will result in catching the responsible party, who could be ordered to pay restitution for the damage if convicted on charges.

Foggin said residents can help catch the tagger or taggers just by being observant. He asks people to report new graffiti or anything that seems suspicious.

"Quite a bit of tagging will result in thousands of dollars in cleanup," Foggin said. "We are really depending on the 15,000 pairs of eyes in this city to pinpoint this activity."

Anyone with information regarding this case should call Dallas Police at 503-831-3539.

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