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Police find gang graffiti in Palo Alto

Original post made on Nov 11, 2008

A Palo Alto police officer noticed gang-related graffiti painted on a fence near the Edgewood Plaza shopping center last Friday afternoon, Police Agent Dan Ryan said.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, November 11, 2008, 3:14 PM

Comments (25)

Posted by anonymous, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 11, 2008 at 3:46 pm

Not surprised - gang criminals are expanding and staking their turf and Palo Alto is now an easy target

Posted by Um, I just saw some of that, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Nov 11, 2008 at 4:26 pm

I'm in EPA & while I wasn't at the same location, I spotted some on Newell, I think. Will have to look again. Had the 209 area code, as well.

I called the police about gang graffiti at Rinconada Park last month. The cop came out & I showed him where it was. There was a lot of tagging recently in Menlo, on Woodland, & on into EPA on Woodland.

Posted by Business owner, a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 11, 2008 at 4:31 pm

There's grafitti on the fence in the center of University Ave, and the City has not bothered to remove it for more than two weeks.

Yes, people, it means that the gangs are staking their territory, and we're next.

Please remove graffiti fast!

Posted by Spotter of Graffiti, a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Nov 11, 2008 at 4:57 pm

There is, in fact, a fair bit of graffiti around Palo Alto. The pedestrian bridge crossing from Wilkie Way over Adobe Creek to Miller Ave got a fresh tag in the past few days.

Where is the right place to report it for removal?

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 11, 2008 at 5:00 pm

I hope that before this graffiti is removed that pictures have been taken of it and a tagging "expert" gets to see it. Gangs use tags to prove ownership of an area or to send signals or information to other gangs and the codes in this tagging may be needed for future evidence at court. If as I suspect, much of the brazen crime we see here recently is in fact gang activity then these tags will be needed for investigation.

To anyone who sees graffiti, please let PAPD know before it is cleaned away as they will need to see it as evidence.

Posted by Spotter of Graffiti, a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Nov 11, 2008 at 5:15 pm

There's a world of difference between a mural and a tag. The former sometimes qualifies as art, but the latter definitely is not.

Posted by JustMe, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 11, 2008 at 5:43 pm

If someone paints graffiti on a spot near you, may I suggest that when it is painted over, find a way to point a camera at that spot? This is especially true if the graffiti returns when painted over. There are webcams and video surveillance systems that could easily cover the spot 24/7, and they are not that expensive. I encourage everyone to have one installed on their home anyway, covering neighbors homes in the background. You won't get enough to convict, but you will probably get enough to help in the investigation. (How many were there, how did they dress, how did they come and go, make/model of car, what time did they do it, how long did it take, etc.) If there is any way you can assist the police, you are actually assisting everyone. If you are interested in a surveillance system, check Fry's. If you need help installing it, I am sure there are handymen who could help.

Posted by Resident, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 11, 2008 at 8:38 pm

Graffiti tagging reminds me of what animals do to mark their territory - as in the way a dog lifts his leg on a pole.
We have seen tagging in Old Palo Alto.

Posted by NoTag, a resident of Ventura
on Nov 11, 2008 at 8:45 pm

Web Link

To Report Graffiti (Tagging)
Citizen involvement is the vital link between City staff and the residents of Palo Alto. Citizens and businesses may report graffiti to our offices by calling 650-496-6974 .

To Report "Tagging" In Progress
If you see somebody doing graffiti in Palo Alto, please contact the Police Department immediately at 650-329-2413

DO NOT CONFRONT suspects directly.

Take note of as much descriptive information as possible:
Note the location of the activity
Note any vehicle description and license plate number
Description of "taggers" including height, weight, clothing, age, hair color, style and any other information that will help police identify them

Posted by JustMe, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 12, 2008 at 11:08 am

I view gang activity as baby-games played with deadly weapons. The "us-vs-them" of inter-gang competition, the focus on recruiting others like themselves (you never see them asking middle-aged folks if they are members of a gang and then shooting them if they are not,) the narrowness of their perception of the world, the whole "gang thing", it's just so juvenile.

If it were not for the crimes they commit, the damage they do, and the atmosphere of fear they create, we could just wait for them to grow out of it, and they would. They would slowly expand their vision and see the world as bigger than they thought, the rules of life bigger than their limited view, and they would become part of the world, one would hope. But with the weapons and the viciousness of their "play", becoming a part of the bigger picture is precluded by their own actions. It is really sad.

Posted by First Timer, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Nov 12, 2008 at 2:26 pm

I have lived in Palo Alto for almost 62 years and I have never seen a "tag" in a residential neighborhood I have lived in. All of that changed last week when a "tag" appeared in front of my house. I hope that our neighborhood has not been identified as part of a gang's turf! It's rather annoying. Let's nip it in the bud before people don't even notice it. Thanks to No Tag in the comments above I called the public works number given. I hope that it is covered over soon!

Posted by stretch, a resident of another community
on Nov 12, 2008 at 3:25 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 12, 2008 at 3:32 pm

Having had many workers on our street a year or so ago with spray paint marking USA and various other codes known only by utility workers on the pavement, my young son found one of these spray paint containers and copied the idea all over our fence and elsewhere. When I explained to him that what he had done was wrong, he could not understand why these men got away with it and he didn't.

These tags done by the utilities people are still visible outside our house on the street and sidewalk and no work has been done. I wonder if I should report this to the graffiti police and get it removed.

No wonder my son was confused.

Posted by inquisitive, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 12, 2008 at 4:42 pm

Well the police had better make sure they don't stop any black kids with doo-rags carrying spray paint because that would be, as we all have learned, racial profiling.

Great job citizens, you've further handicapped the police from preventing this sort of stuff. Thanks for overreacting to a few sentences taken out of context.

Posted by Van Gogh, a resident of Professorville
on Nov 12, 2008 at 5:34 pm

There is gang graffiti in South Palo Alto, and has been for quite some time. Three dots on the sidewalk is one example of this.

If you want reduced crime hire more police officers. It would also help if residents were more alert and a LOT less complacent.

Posted by Betwixt, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 12, 2008 at 6:39 pm

What a stupid world when human beings go around acting like wolves. What is the mentality of people like that???

Posted by Volunteer, a resident of Meadow Park
on Nov 12, 2008 at 7:20 pm

There has been a lot of tagging in South Palo Alto especially on the walls of Adobe Creek as it goes through Mitchell Park and on some of the benches in the park.

Graffiti is removed not only by City workers but the City relies on volunteers to help them remove it. I'm sure the City could use more volunteers for this work so if you don't like it in your neighborhood be a volunteer to remove the tagging.

Posted by JustMe, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 13, 2008 at 8:44 am

Where would I go to vollunteer and learn about removal techniques?

Posted by anon, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Nov 13, 2008 at 9:53 pm


I wouldnt waste my time on that. Unless you want to put in long hours because the tagging and graffiti will vastly increase. The reason? Because crime is increasing in palo alto and people (citizens and crooks) know that the palo alto police officers' hands are tied and the level of proactive work will decrease. It will decrease dramatically because of the scrutiny behind them. Every person they stop on the street. to investigate if they are suspect(s) of a crime, including vandalism and graffiti, will throw the race card out.

The police cannot do their jobs and they are now handcuffed from doing their jobs because of the "racial profiling" mumbo jumbo that is being thrown out by the media and citizens.

Posted by Volunteer, a resident of Meadow Park
on Nov 14, 2008 at 4:54 am

JustMe: There is a volunteer coordidnator at City Hall who would love volunteers to step forward not only to help with graffiti removal but other tasks around the City.

Posted by RS, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 14, 2008 at 8:55 am

"and learn about removal techniques..."

when the graffiti is a black marker, hairspray works great.
Does anyone know something for spray paint, besides repainting?

Posted by G, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 18, 2008 at 1:02 pm

I called the city of Palo Alto about graffiti and asked them if they have graffiti removal kits like the city of San Jose does, answer 'no', "too much liability". If I had people willing to volunteer to clean up graffiti you would think the city would have them sign a waiver, teach them how to use the removal products, and we could then all enjoy less graffiti.

While I have called many times to have graffiti removed I do notice that in most cases graffiti returns often within 48 hours...example: many of the signs on Alama/Oregon intersection. How about putting some Bear traps at the base of the signs.....that would catch them : )

Posted by Been There, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Nov 18, 2008 at 1:24 pm

In Los Angeles, they surround the road signs with barbed wire. I'd rather see barbed wire than graffiti.

Posted by More graffiti spotted, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Nov 18, 2008 at 3:32 pm

Saw some on a private residence wall at the 101 south/Embarcadero juncture, across from the gas station. It was in blue, & there was 209 in it. This was Nov. 16.

Posted by Jerry99, a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 8, 2011 at 11:36 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

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