The City of Palmdale has been working to address graffiti blight this year and has launched a community education campaign to remind residents that graffiti is a crime and can be reported by calling 94-PRIDE (947-7433).
“Graffiti is a terrible crime that takes away from the beauty of our city,” said Palmdale Mayor Steve Hofbauer. “I’m proud of this staff coordinated effort that includes law enforcement, citizens, utilities, and store owners standing together to fight graffiti.”
Palmdale’s Community Compliance division has recorded 719 cases of graffiti already this year. Palmdale residents reported 199 of those locations, and a citywide graffiti sweep generated an additional 520 locations.
In cases of graffiti found on private property, notices are mailed to property owners. So far this year, in 169 cases property owners were very prompt in cleaning the graffiti. The city understands that these property owners are victims of vandalism. When graffiti victims ask for help, the city can assist with a gift card for paint supplies. Fifteen gift cards have been provided to property owners this year.
The city is also working with 11 utility companies to establish a proactive approach to removing graffiti in the public right-of-way and on utility service property. With this pro-active approach, utility companies have achieved an average of less than 72-hour response times for graffiti removal.
These collaborative efforts became particularly rewarding when the Community Compliance division conducted the citywide graffiti sweep. The sweep proactively identified graffiti sites and coordinated cleanup with appropriate property owners. This allowed the City’s Public Works graffiti abatement team to focus on promptly removing graffiti in city parks and public areas. These reports generated 150,248 square feet of total coverage abated by Public Works, including 41,129.50 square feet removed from parks.
Palmdale Sheriff’s Station PAC deputies and the Palmdale Sheriff graffiti detective conducted many operations to identify and arrest vandals responsible for tagging, resulting in 45 arrests this year. Palmdale continues to utilize a graffiti tracker to store and analyze digital pictures of graffiti, enabling law enforcement to apprehend and prosecute vandals. The Graffiti Tracker system also shares the data with multiple agencies.
Community Compliance is also working with local retailers to keep spray paint out of vandal’s hands by conducting site inspections at retail stores that sell spray paint. Citations are issued as necessary for not securing spray paint in accordance with Palmdale Municipal Code. If a business receives three citations, the matter is submitted to the City Attorney’s office for further legal action.
To report graffiti, call 94-PRIDE (947-7433), text REPORT to (661) 780-PALM (7256), or visit cityofpalmdale.org/report. And remember, “Say It, Don’t Spray It!”