Taggers making their marks

KINGMAN - The Kingman Police Department, in conjunction with Mohave County Silent Witness, is offering a reward for information that leads to the arrest of taggers who are leaving graffiti across the city.

Police took more than half a dozen reports of criminal damage last weekend alone, but the increase in graffiti has been going on for weeks.

Sgt. Bob Fisk said the graffiti is a never-ending cycle that the city and police take very seriously. He cited the "broken window theory," in which one broken window, or in this case, graffiti, leads to a tendency for more vandalism. "We're not going to let this go," he said.

Some of the graffiti is illegible, while other displays have included words like "ork," "land pirates" and "my life." The taggers target everything from stop signs to culverts.

"Anything and everything," Fisk said. "They want it to be visible."

Fisk said the police department has an abatement program which tries to remove the graffiti within 24-48 hours by either sandblasting the surface of the tagged area or simply painting over it.

Those caught writing graffiti can face felony charges depending on the amount of damage caused. Those who tag in groups can also face gang affiliation charges.

Fisk said kids aren't necessarily the only ones behind the graffiti. Stores, such as True Value Hardware on Stockton Hill Road, have regulations in place that prevent the sale of spray paint to anyone younger than 18.

True Value manager Terry Vandeman said his store doesn't have many kids trying to buy tagging materials.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Kingman Police Department at (928) 753-2191 or Silent Witness at (928) 753-1234 or (888) 227-8780.