Graffiti Has Exploded in Los Angeles
If you've noticed a lot of graffiti around L.A., you're not alone.
It continues to flourish following our report last year on how graffiti was cropping up from Mid-City to Palms.
Criminologists and other experts continue to debate whether there's a cause-and-effect relationship to crime, but it's clear that as L.A.'s lawlessness has seen a marked increase, graffiti complaints have gone up in parallel.
A new city document says that graffiti-removal requests have increased 64 percent in the last five years.
The memo this week from City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana says the Board of Public Works has recorded 141,000 such requests in the 2015-16 fiscal year so far, compared to 86,000 in 2010-11.
The board wants an additional $1.5 million dedicated to graffiti abatement, Santana states.
The cash would fund 13 graffiti "strike teams" as well as anti-graffiti educational outreach, he wrote.
The strike teams, the memo says, would pro-actively remove graffiti — before the city gets complaints.
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Gang graffiti can be a harbinger of violence, particularly when one set crosses out the tags of another.
But direct connections between an increase of graffiti in a particular neighborhood and outbreaks of bloodshed are hard to make, experts say.
"An increase in tagging is never a good thing," UCLA social welfare professor Jorja Leap told us last year. "It's usually a sign that there's been some kind of a breakdown."
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