Solutions offered to curb Rockford graffiti (Rockford, IL):

March 29, 2004

Rockford Register Star

In Rockford, police are trying to curb an increase in gang-related graffiti. According to police, there is something going on between the city's Hispanic gangs: the Latin Kings on one side and the Latin Counts and Surrenos on the other. "Right now what we have is a lot on the south and southwest sides," an officer said. "Its the younger kids, the 'wannabes' we call them, who do it. Not the older gang members; they dont want the attention." The officer also added that a spike in graffiti does not necessarily mean a spike in gang-related violence. "A lot of these kids go to the same schools and nothing ever happens. When they're out of school, one side might tag something, then another side sees it, so they tag over it because they see it as an insult, so it spreads." Negotiations have begun to see what kind of legislation can be passed to help set and increase fines for individuals damaging property with paint. Also being considered is the restriction of paint sales. Currently, if taggers are caught, they are usually charged with vandalism or criminal damage to property. The charge can range from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class 4 felony, depending on the amount of property damage.