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March 25, 2009 > Graffiti Hotline Yields Results

Graffiti Hotline Yields Results

By Simon Wong

Hayward's Graffiti Abatement Program is one of several of the City's Community Preservation Programs and includes a Stop-Graffiti Reward Hotline.

By definition, graffiti consists of words, shapes and colors drawn or scratched on any surface without permission. It is illegal. It is the most common form of property vandalism, sends a message of fear throughout the community and attracts crime and other street delinquency.

It is costly to property owners and the City, contributes to blight and creates the impression that a neighborhood is uninviting, undesirable and unsafe.

The City has been pro-active in managing graffiti vandalism but enlisted the community's help when it launched its graffiti reward hotline in 2008. Anyone reporting graffiti should provide as much information as possible - names and descriptions of the culprits, their graffiti tags or markings, the time and place of the offence and anything else than can help the police make an arrest.

If the Hayward Police Department determines that a caller's information was useful in making an arrest and conviction in a graffiti case, the caller will be eligible for a reward of up to $500. The maximum for one prosecuted case is $500, regardless of the number of suspects involved.

The Council presented its first reward on March 17. $500 was awarded to the concerned citizen, who wishes to remain anonymous, for information that led to the arrest of three Hayward residents, aged fourteen, fifteen and twenty-eight, last August. In December, all three were convicted of graffiti vandalism. They received three years' probation; the adult also spent eighteen days in jail.

Enquiries revealed that they are linked to a larger tagging group that was responsible for other graffiti incidents throughout the City. Hayward Police Department made additional arrests and closed about fifteen other graffiti investigations.

The Police Department is currently processing five other reward claims and the hotline averages seven calls per month.

"The City of Hayward wants to sincerely thank this citizen who values civic pride and helped with the case. We are proud that a community member has the courage to get involved. This person sets an example for all Hayward residents and business owners in our joint fight against graffiti and related vandalism on our community," stated Mayor Michael Sweeney.

For graffiti concerns, call 510 583 5888. For the Graffiti Reward Hotline, call 510 583 5500. For more information visit, www.hayward-ca.gov.

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