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City’s Wipe Out Graffiti Program Cracks Down on Vandals

November 7, 2011

For more information contact:

Chad Karlewicz, Commander, Renton Police Department 425-430-7640
Preeti Shridhar, Communications Director 425-430-6569

Witness Gets $300 Reward for Helping Police Catch Tagger

RENTON, WA: Thanks to a call from a witness, Renton Police recently arrested a known graffiti vandal who was responsible for the recent red “Reckless” tag in front of the Renton library. The witness called 9-1-1 while the graffiti vandalism was in progress resulting in the apprehension. The tagger has been charged and is awaiting a court hearing. The witness will receive a $300 reward from the City of Renton.

"Graffiti is an invitation for criminal behavior and sends a message that we do not care about our city,” said Mayor Denis Law. “I am very pleased to report that we are making great strides in the fight against graffiti. Since we launched our comprehensive anti-graffiti initiative in 2009, graffiti in our city has dropped by 60%.”

In 2009, the City of Renton launched an aggressive campaign against graffiti. The campaign includes a Graffiti Control Ordinance that helps prosecute graffiti offenders, reduces the damages inflicted on property owners, makes it illegal to possess graffiti paraphernalia, allows the court to order offenders to pay damages, allows public funds to be used for graffiti removal, allows the city to assign up to a $5,000 liability to the parent of a minor who commits graffiti vandalism, and authorizes the city to offer up to a $300 reward for information leading to the identification and apprehension of any person who commits graffiti vandalism.

“I want to personally thank the witness for calling 9-1-1 and helping us catch the vandal,” said Law. “I applaud the efforts of all our city departments and the community groups who have been working together to aggressively fight graffiti. If you see graffiti vandal in action, please call 9-1-1 immediately so that our police officers can stop them in their tracks.”

The city has also has installed cameras in hot spots throughout the city to help identify and prosecute vandals, has a part-time graffiti abatement coordinator, and has partnered with local businesses and the community to launch a comprehensive education campaign. Wipe Out Graffiti, the city’s campaign against graffiti, encourages people to report graffiti by calling the graffiti hotline, 425-430-7373, or 9-1-1 if they see “tagging” in progress.

Since launching the initiative, reported cases of graffiti in Renton decreased from an annual total of 2,975 in 2009 to 1,927 in 2010, with a current count of 979 in 2011. This indicates an overall decrease of 35% from 2009 to 2010 and 60% from 2009 to 2011. Since 2010, the city has made 13 arrests for graffiti-related crimes. City departments have removed graffiti on public property, and organized anti-graffiti sweeps and volunteer work parties to remove graffiti and keep Renton’s neighborhoods graffiti-free. The city’s program also offers free graffiti abatement kits to individuals who have been victimized by graffiti on their property and have limited means to deal with removing it. The kits are available at Renton City Hall, the Renton Community Center and other public facilities throughout Renton.

To volunteer or participate in the city’s program please call 425-430-7362. For more information, visit the city’s website at rentonwa.gov