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The City of Vista has worked hard to abate graffiti. In 2008, the city hired artists to paint murals along the Sprinter light rail corridor as a way to deter taggers from leaving their marks on buildings, city vehicles, and utility boxes.

Working in conjunction with the San Diego sheriff's department, city officials have implemented programs to eliminate graffiti artists from using city property as canvases.

One such program, Graffiti Tracker, is a web-based application that helps public works and sheriff's deputies to track graffiti.

According to Vista spokesperson Andrea McCullough, from March 2009 to February 2010, 13 suspected taggers have been arrested and charged with graffiti-related offenses.

"As of February 2010, the City has been awarded more than $140,000 in restitution by the courts," writes McCullough in a May 21 email. "Several more cases are currently going through the court system."

McCullough estimates that the city spends close to $200,000 per year on graffiti removal.

That dollar figure might decrease this year. At 10:45 a.m., on May 20, deputies from the San Diego sheriff's department served a search warrant at the Vista home of a suspected juvenile graffiti artist. In the house, according to a May 20 press release, deputies found "100 items of evidence relating to graffiti."

The city of Vista estimated the damages caused by the juvenile to be approximately $45,000.

In addition to the evidence that they found with their tagger at large, deputies seized several digital images of underage girls posing half nude with graffiti art covering their bodies and sex tapes of the juvenile suspect engaging in sexual acts with a 15-year-old.

Deputy sheriffs arrested the teen and booked the juvenile into San Diego's juvenile detention facility on 86 counts of felony vandalism and one count of manufacturing child pornography.

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Comments

CuddleFish May 22, 2010 @ 6:16 p.m.

Thanks for this story, Dorian, very informative. I am actually going to email it out to a number of people in my community who are currently discussing this issue and what to do about it.

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