01-20-09 Three Face Felonies for Graffiti
Boise, Jan, 20, 2009 - Boise Police arrested three men Monday for spray painting graffiti on a freeway overpass. After further investigation, officers believe the men are responsible for at least $18,000 in damage from graffiti that's damaged Boise neighborhoods for the past several weeks.
Suspect: Taylor R. Coe, 20, Boise
Charges: Malicious Injury to Property, Graffiti (F), Resisting & Obstructing Officers (m), Providing Officers False Info (m)
Suspect: Andrew J. Salzano, 25, Boise
Charge: Malicious Injury to Property (Graffiti)(F)
Suspect: Cameron N. Stevenson, 25, Boise
Charges: Malicious Injury to Property (Graffiti)(F), Resisting & Obstructing Officers (m)
What Happened: Monday, Jan. 19, 2008, approx 4;30 a.m., a citizen called police reporting three men spray painting graffiti on the 1-84 overpass at Cole Rd. Boise Police officers responded, set a perimeter, and found the three still on scene. When officers approached, one suspect was taken into custody (Salzano), the two others ran. Officers quickly captured the suspects, an officer found one suspect hiding in some nearby bushes, another officer saw the second suspect running and used his patrol car to block him in a nearby parking lot.
The officers also saw several locations of spray painted graffiti that appeared to be very fresh on the freeway overpass. During the investigation, officers found the suspects to be in possession of several cans of spray paint.
"We think this group has been doing a lot of damage to neighborhoods all over the city for about two months now. We've taken a lot of complaints from citizens who see graffiti and really don't want this eyesore in Boise,' said Officer Tony Davidson, a Boise Police Neighborhood Contact Officer leading the investigation.
"Major kudos to the citizen who recognized what they were seeing and called it in, and to patrol who responded quickly and caught these guys. It's rare to catch these in the act, and it looks like we're going to clear up a lot of cases with these arrests." said Davidson.
Tracking Cases, Damages: Officer Davidson credits a new graffiti reporting and tracking system for helping him to quickly link the suspects to several other cases (see BPD news release dated Oct. 1, 2008). Although the case is still under investigation, and officers are still going through previous reports, Officer Davidson has linked the suspects to at least $16,000 in graffiti damages previously reported, and $2,000 in damages done just prior to the suspects arrest Monday morning.
"Graffiti is not something we want to see spread in Boise," said Officer Davidson. "Graffiti is connected to lower property values, and citizens see it as a sign of increased crime and degraded neighborhoods. Citizens see what damage graffiti has done in other cities, and they look at Boise and say, 'not here'."
Reporting, Removing Graffiti: Boise Police want to remind citizens when they see graffiti to report it immediately to non-emergency dispatch, 377-6790. And a reminder to property owners, it's important to clean up and remove graffiti as quickly as possible after it's been documented by police. Allowing graffiti to linger in an area has been shown to only perpetuate the crime.
Latest Stats: The latest statistics available from the Boise Police Department show from Jan. - Sept. 2008, there were 383 reports of graffiti vandalism, a decrease of 8.3% from the year before. For the same time period in 2007, graffiti reports were at an all time high of 418 reports.
BPD News Release from Oct. 1, 2008:
New Graffiti Reporting should mean Quicker Clean Up
Boise, Oct. 1, 2008 - Citizens of Boise today have a new way to report graffiti that should held speed the removal of the vandalism and help officers investigate who did it.
As of today, October 1st, citizens are urged to report graffiti to a single source - non-emergency police dispatch, 377-6790.
This new graffiti reporting process is the first step of a new, more efficient graffiti investigation and removal program.
THE GOAL of this new graffiti reporting process is clean up and removal of the graffiti within 72 hours!
It's been proven that prompt removal of graffiti greatly decreases repeated incidence of graffiti.
- Boise Police and the City of Boise is urging citizens to report graffiti to a single source - non-emergency police dispatch, 377-6790 (NOT the mayors hotline, NOT the BPD web site, NOT the Code Enforcement web site, NOT letters to the police dept., etc)
- Boise Police dispatchers will send a Community Service Specialist (non-sworn employees specially trained in field report taking, evidence collection, etc.) to take the graffiti report, including photographs.
- Citizens should report graffiti during daylight hours, since the goal is to respond quickly and gather photographic evidence, which is generally only visible during the day.
- CSS will immediately contact or attempt to contact property owner. Property owners will be given a brochure (see attached) with information on how to remove graffiti, and the importance of prompt removal.
- Graffiti reports will be inputted daily into crime analysis data system for immediate access by criminal investigators.
- New reporting and routing system will allow Boise Police investigators to use new technology, a new searchable crime database within the department, that will allow officers to input one graffiti "tag" into the system and instantly retrieve all reports of similar crimes.
- If property owner is not already identified, BPD employees will do property search to identify the owner, and contact them with information on graffiti removal. If property owner is a public agency (ITD, ACHD, Boise City Parks, etc), an e-mail of graffiti report will be sent immediately to the proper contact for prompt removal.
- Graffiti is one of the most commonly complained about crimes in Boise City. Citizens concerned graffiti is evidence of neighborhood deterioration.
- Removing graffiti quickly is proven to reduce incidence of graffiti.
Graffiti Issue in Boise:
The vast majority of the graffiti in Boise is called "Tagging".
Tagging is a signature or symbol used by a tagger or a group of taggers. Tagging is not gang graffiti. Taggers motivation is public exposure, on signs, billboards, buildings, or through the media.