Stopping gang crime by taking down taggers

PROSSER, Wash. -- If there's one down side to this mild weather, it's that taggers are still out in full force at a time when many graffiti cases normally go down. In Prosser, police say many cases are going unreported and it can ultimately lead to gang activity.

Olivia Peal looks at the graffiti down the street from her home in Prosser. She says, "People think it's ok to vandalize people's property that they work hard to maintain."

This is her son and nephew's bus stop. She worries about how this environment affects them.

"I wouldn't want them to think that's ok to do to other people's property."

But Olivia and any other neighbors I talked to called police to report this crime.

"Figure that the homeowner will take care of it or they just leave it alone because it's not where they can see it or on their property," she says.

Police say a lot of graffiti goes unreported because people don't realize that it could be a symptom of a much bigger problem.

Prosser's police Sgt. tells KEPR, "It's a sign of a problem and usually it's a gang problem."

Police do report graffiti themselves while on patrol and in fact, eight addresses were tagged up and reported by police just last weekend.
But with the help of citizens, police can remove *more graffiti and tackle to problem as a whole.

"Get rid of it as soon as possible because that will discourage further graffiti and gang activity," the Sgt. continues.

Getting to the root of the problem before it's too late.

There have no been any arrests for last weekend's spike in graffiti cases in Prosser. If you have any information call Prosser Police.