SOURCE: City of Fresno

February 06, 2007 19:50 ET

Successful War on Graffiti Is Model for Other Cities

Police, Prosecutor, Faith-Based Groups Work Together

FRESNO, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- February 6, 2007 -- Graffiti is more than just a visual annoyance that is sprayed over and forgotten -- it's a gateway crime, often leading to gang and other criminal activity. That's why the City of Fresno went into action.

Just three months old, the City's new anti-graffiti approach is working and has other cities with graffiti problems of their own taking notice. The Graffiti Abatement Team is based on a unique model designed by those at the City of Fresno.

"After trying other methods, we took a hard look at what was working," explained Fresno Police Lieutenant Tom LaBand, commander of the anti-graffiti unit. "With the blessing of the Mayor and Police Chief, we are devoting the necessary resources and including some non-traditional groups in our common goal of eradicating graffiti."

Graffiti Abatement Team members include: the City of Fresno; five detectives and two code enforcements officers dedicated solely to eradicating graffiti; paint crews that clean up within 24 hours; volunteers from faith-based and non-profit organizations; jail inmate clean-up crews closely supervised by Fresno Police; and a deputized City Attorney whose exclusive role is prosecution.

The model's components include:

Litter Crews -- In a partnership between the City and Cal-Trans, police-supervised inmate crews pick up trash on the local freeways.

Juvenile Work Program -- Instead of traditional punishment, certain juvenile graffiti vandals are placed in this police-supervised program and spend a minimum of 32 hours weeding, cleaning, and pruning at a local park. Traditional hard work seems to be changing the behaviors for the better of these former vandals.

Police and Faith-Based Groups -- The police department's team operates under one roof so communication is effective. Five detectives and one sergeant investigate nothing but graffiti and work with local "community coordinators" who involve non-profits and faith-based organizations -- those committed to showing pride in their community. This team of enforcement and faith-based members work together to identify the taggers, investigate the crimes, rehabilitate the offenders and clean up quickly.

To learn more about the Graffiti Abatement Team contact the Police Department Public Information Officer, Jeff Cardinale at (559) 621-2486.

Fresno, a culture of excellence where people get the best every day.

Contact Information


    Rhonda Jorn
    Public Affairs Manager
    (559) 621-7777