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Tracking Taggers Across San Diego

Audio

Aired 9/23/10

Law enforcement agencies around the county are working together to combat graffiti. Now the city of San Diego is being asked to join the coalition.

— Law enforcement agencies around the county are working together to combat graffiti. Now the city of San Diego is being asked to join the coalition.

San Diego County and 11 of its 18 cities are taking part in the Graffiti Tracker program. It allows city workers to document different tags and upload pictures into a tracking system. The information is then shared among participating agencies.

County Supervisor Greg Cox spoke Wednesday to a San Diego council committee about the city coming on board. He said the tracking program is a more efficient way to deal with taggers.

“We’re having some real meaningful opportunities to have more severe prosecution, and to actually lock people up for longer periods of time,” he said.

Cox said several other cities are considering joining the program.

Deputy District Attorney Victor Barr stressed that working together to fight graffiti has resulted in more money for cities.

“Before, if you got a restitution of $200, who’s going to take the time to go collect that? But now with these cases we’re getting restitution orders of $2,000 $4,000, $10,000,” he said.

Barr said the program can be used to track gang activity and threats of violence.

But joining the program is not cheap. It would cost San Diego more than $67,000 a year to take part. San Diego Councilman Tony Young said he wants to know how much San Diego could save if it enrolled.

“What would be helpful for this committee and the council as we move forward would be, when you give your presentation, to really identify the true cost saving, dollar signs,” he said.

The committee heard a report on the program but decided not to act until it receives more information about how to pay for it. The committee will consider the issue again next month.

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