Police fight crime by reading graffitiPosted: Updated:
YAKIMA, Wash. - Reading graffiti is what Tarin Miller does best.
Miller is a police officer with the Yakima Police Department's Gang Enforcement Team.
There are about ten active gangs in Yakima, Miller said
These gangs use graffiti as a way to tell a story. A story miller reads on a regular basis to find out what these gangs are up to and what they plan on doing next.
"It's the newspaper of the street, Miller said. "It tells me whose active. It lets me know who the new members are. What area is real active and what area a certain gang is claiming."
Today the newspaper of the streets tells Miller about a problem brewing between two gang members.
"Speedy's crossed out and then another name will be written on top," Miller said. "So I'll know who crossed it out (and if there is) going to be some tension between the two."
Every tag tells Miller something, and it's taken her a long time to understand what it all means.
"The main training I've had is street training," Miller said. "Just getting out there and doing it. I've talked to a lot of people a lot of gang members, a lot of taggers."
Over the last two years, Miller's seen a decline in graffiti and credits the work she and the gang enforcement team have done, she said.
"We'll find you," Miller said. "You'll be arrested. You'll spend time in jail even if you're not an adult."