03-05-09 Graffiti Arrest: New Graffiti Reporting System Helps Officers Track Crimes
Boise, March 5, 2009 - Boise Police have arrested a man suspected of graffiti damages to local businesses totaling more than $1,600. Officers say a new graffiti reporting system, implemented last fall, is proving to be very helpful in tracking, and eventually charging suspects for graffiti.
Arrested: Christopher L. Owen, 22, Boise
Charges: Malicious Injury to Property (F - damage over $1,000), Possession of Marijuana (m), Possession of Drug Paraphernalia (m)
What Happened: Boise Police served a search warrant at a home on the 5500 blk of S. Caper Place (off E. Lake Forest Dr. in Columbia Village) at 2:00 p.m. Wednesday, March 4th, as part of a continuing investigation into graffiti damage done throughout the city.
When officers arrived at the home they found the suspect, Owen, and evidence linking the suspect to at least three incidents of graffiti damage done to downtown businesses between July of last year and this past January. Damage for the vandalism is estimated at $1,632.00. Officers estimate losses based on clean up costs per square foot of graffiti damage.
Officers also found the suspect in possession of a small amount of marijuana, and marijuana paraphernalia.
During the search, officers located what appeared to be potentially explosive materials in the residence. The Boise Police bomb squad was called to the home to remove the potential hazard from the residential area. While the bomb squad was on scene, nearby residents were asked to remain indoors as a safety precaution for approximately 45 minutes. At this time, the material found is still under investigation.
Tracking Graffiti Cases: Officers investigating cases of graffiti say a new reporting system put in place this fall is helping them more quickly identify connected cases and potential suspects.
"Graffiti is a crime that people see and immediately feel it degrades their neighborhood," said Officer Tony Davidson of the Boise Police Neighborhood Contact Unit.
"Graffiti vandals often target private property, in many cases small local businesses who can hardy afford the costs of cleaning it up. Taxpayers foot the bill to clean up damaged public property. Citizens are cooperating with this new reporting system, that's really making a difference in helping us track, connect, and hopefully make more arrests in more graffiti cases." said Officer Davidson.
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 a 4% decrease in reported graffiti cases in 2008. In 2008, Boise Police documented 568 cases of graffiti, down slightly from 591 cases in 2007, but still a marked increase from the 281 graffiti cases reported in 2005.
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.