City seeks restitution from graffiti vandals

OCEANSIDE —The Oceanside Police Department continues to utilize all means necessary to combat graffiti crimes. The city has collected $10,161 in restitution fines from local vandals this year by invoicing the suspect or often times their parents in the amount of $33,203 this year.
Oceanside Police Department said the parents are responsible for the financial burden if the suspect is a juvenile. In March 2008, the Graffiti Task Force was started with two designated officers assigned to identify, document, prosecute and seek restitution for the vandalism that these suspects leave on property. The department utilizes a GPS-based “Graffiti Tracker” system. The system allows officers from the department to not only track graffiti in Oceanside, but other cities in North County as well. This allows the department to prosecute the vandals for crime outside the city when cases are turned over to the District Attorney’s Office.
The city handles the removal of graffiti on public property and will also remove the graffiti on private property if the owner of the property signs a waiver that allows the city to become the victim and prosecute the vandals for the graffiti on their property.
If you observe graffiti that portrays language of a hate crime, derogatory wording, or observe the tagging in progress, contact the police department. All other graffiti observed should be called in to the Graffiti Hotline at (760-435-4466).
Combating graffiti tagging requires action. The faster graffiti is removed, the faster the tagging problem diminishes by preventing the defacement from becoming a status symbol among the gangs and taggers. Studies show that tagging removed within 48 hours can result in nearly a zero rate of vandals repeating the defacement. With the support of the community, the police department can become more efficient and successful in pursuing, prosecuting and seeking restitution in graffiti cases.
For further information, contact Officer Joe Torres at (760) 435-4930 or Officer Bill Wallace at (760) 435-4892.

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