Graffiti Pod is Closed but Taggers are Still Being Arrested - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Graffiti Pod is Closed but Taggers are Still Being Arrested

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YAKIMA, Wash.- The graffiti pod at the Yakima Juvenile Detention Facility is closed but employees are making room for more taggers.

"See you got tagged again, that kind of thing," said Lance Johnson, who has graffiti around his business.

That's what customers say when they go to Image West Photography on Yakima Avenue. It's a block notorious for getting tagged, over and over again.

"Graffiti is a huge need to be accountable for their acts," said Harold Delia, a Yakima Court Consultant.

The graffiti pod was created a year ago to detain taggers. On any given day the 12-bed unit only housed two teens which is why the pod closed. But employees say they're still making room for taggers.

"They're still bringing them in, we're still accepting them and they're still going to court," said Delia.

Graffiti is only a misdemeanor. Before the graffiti pod, police had no where to detain taggers. Even though it's gone now, the message is still clear. 

"The word got out that if you get arrested, you're going to get locked up, that is an important message to send," said Delia.

And that message has worked. Court officials say the number of juvenile taggers being arrested has increased.

"Maybe 2 more a day than we used to have," said Delia.

Which means more people are being penalized. Business owners say they have something to look forward to.

"We have hope it will be completely abolished here sometime soon," said Johnson.