Richland Police Are Cracking Down On Graffiti Throughout The City - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Richland Police Are Cracking Down On Graffiti Throughout The City

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RICHLAND, Wash. - Taggers Beware:  Richland Police are adding extra forces to find you.

There has been a major increase in the number of reported graffiti cases all over Richland.

Richland Police Captain Mike Cobb said the increase is very significant and that the department recognizes this as a problem.  Richland Sergeant Tony Striefel is now on special assignment to stop this growing problem.

Striefel said police have received double the amount of graffiti reports since 2005 and triple the amount since 2006.

Tuesday afternoon police searched homes of suspected taggers in South Richland.  They found evidence.  Police also arrested suspects.

Police believe that a number of the tagging has been done by same group of friends. 

Authorities separate the graffiti into four different kinds and believe some is more threatening then others.  Striefel reports that about 85 percent of what they see are teens using spray paint in an artistic or mischievousness form.  That type of graffiti costs money to clean, but is typically not threatening.

But recently there has been a significant increase in the amount of gang graffiti at parks in Richland.  Striefel said this is dangerous because it could lead to violence among gang members.  He said gangs use it to mark their territory in a particular area.

Tuesday morning workers had to clean up the bathroom at Howard Amon Park because someone spray-painted on the walls.  City worker Dayne Meyer is in charge of cleaning the bathrooms and emptying the trash cans.  He said he sees it about once or twice a week at the parks.

Police said it is a daily occurrence and they are tired of dealing with it.

Jennifer Brawley owns the Cool Delights candy and snack shop adjacent to the park bathroom.  She said she is annoyed and frustrated that people are disrespecting the public areas.  She also fears that her business will be tagged.

Striefel said he would continue to monitor the graffiti and gang problems.  He also encouraged residents to call police if they see people spray painting on public or private property.  

The city workers will clean up spray paint on city property, but owners of homes and businesses are responsible if it is on their property.