Graffiti problem increasing around town

Yuma

Graffiti problem increasing around town

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YUMA, AZ (13 On Your Side) - Police tell 13 On Your Side - they're noticing taggers are leaving their marks on walls and buildings all over town. 

Police say the problem - once used by gang bangers to mark their territory - is now a hobby for many teens who are not affiliated with gangs. 

They say there are  five different types of taggings around the community. And although they may be able to spot the markings around town - police say the hard part is catching the tagger. 

Cruz Vidal, Master Police Officer, says these markings have been popping up all over town within the past month. But the department has not been able to pinpoint the tagger - or vandals - responsible. 

"We know people in the community know who they are and we're asking them to please call us." Vidal says graffiti is a crime that has punishable consequences. "They can be misdemeanors based on the amount of damage or they can climb up to a felony status depending on the amount or possibly the area where they have graffitied."

According to city officials - graffiti costs taxpayers about $200,000 a year to clean up. And to try to stop this from happening, police have put together a task force specializing in reading the moniker of each tagging and keeping track of them.

"There's different ways we keep the information. One is to photograph everything because in the event that we find out who's doing this of course we are going to compile all the cases in one."

Police want the taggers to understand that all the different locations of the graffiti can be costly to them as well. 

"It's very likely that all those different tagging incidents are going to be categorized as different instances and therefore you have more of a lengthy record."

If you have any information on the tagger or taggers you are asked to call 78-CRIME. Police say if your tip leads to an arrest - you can be rewarded up to one thousand dollars.