Increased Graffiti During Fog Season

FRESNO, Calif. Fresno Police said graffiti vandals are out in force during the winter months. And it's the "fog" that's making it easier for them to do their dirty work. It's also making it harder for police to catch them.

Everywhere taggers leave their mark the Fresno Graffiti Abatement Team is hot on their trail scrubbing and wiping down street signs, sidewalks and even light posts.

Jim Allen with Graffiti Abatement said, "I remove generally between 50-60 tags a day."

Fresno Police Lieutenant Jose Garza said the department sees a 30-percent increase in this sort of vandalism during the winter.

"It could be because of the shorter daylight hours, it could be the less people walking and also it's easier for the individuals to hide, especially during the dense fog," said Lt. Garza.

The nine-member abatement team tries to respond within 24 hours to remove the graffiti.

"You don't have to look far to find it," said Allen.

But sometimes, just within hours, vandals are back, any clean space is their target.

Allen said, "It used to be just the southeast, just the southwest, now its central, northeast, northwest-- its everywhere."

"Just like this last week period, they removed approximately 64-thousand square feet of graffiti in Fresno. I mean they are doing this seven days a week-- so it's quite a bit," said Lt. Garza.

Lieutenant Garza said the fog and fewer daylight hours are also making these criminals harder to catch.

Lt. Garza explained, "There's more graffiti, but also, there's less arrests being made because it's harder to apprehend individuals in the fog or in the winter hours."

Lieutenant Garza said the crime is being committed mostly by juveniles. It's generally a misdemeanor, but can turn into a felony-- depending on the level of destruction the vandals cause.

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