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Graffiti abatement crews cause trepidation in taggers

December 15, 2009
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VISALIA, CA — The city of Visalia''s graffiti abatement crews have a goal of removing unsightly tags within 48 hours of being sprayed, an objective the part-time employees strive to meet, according to the Visalia Times-Delta.
Receiving over a dozen calls per day, the crews, part of the city of Visalia Parks and Recreation Department, work more than 1,000 hours per year logging cases and painting over the tags in two-man crews, the story stated.
Eliseo Martinez, a graffiti abatement crew member, said: "We have to get these [hot-line calls] done as quickly as possible. It''s important to show the community we respond fast and care about the city. We try to get to graffiti around schools so the gangs don''t recruit the kids as they walk home."
The city''s Graffiti Abatement Program has a yearly budget of roughly $113,000, which provides equipment, supplies and salaries for the crew members who typically work from 7 a.m. to noon Monday through Saturday, the story noted.
According to the story, each site is photographed before and after it is cleaned and photos are handed over to the Visalia Police Department and archived for future use.
Abatement crews use darker colored paints to cover walls that have been tagged in order to discourage those who use red and blue paint, colors generally chosen by gangs, the story added.
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