KTTU "In Focus," "Graffiti Abatement," 11/8/09, 10:30 AM

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By Bryce Potter By Bryce Potter

Host Bob Lee interviews Lt. Ron Stiso, Tucson Police Department “Graffiti Unit.”

Graffiti abatement in Tucson had been handled in the Neighborhood Resources Office. Due to budget cuts, it was recently turned over to the Tucson Police Department.
Lt. Stiso says graffiti is vandalism, it is destruction of property and it is a crime. He says the only exception is if a property owner gives permission for someone to “decorate” a building or other item on the property. He says even though spray paint sales to minors are controlled, they can purchase it over the Internet. He also says 90-percent of those “tagging” property are 18 or older. 
Stiso says there are several types of graffiti, from “bubble art,” which is the large multi-colored graffiti, to “line art,” which is typically gang-related graffiti. He says when a person finds graffiti on their property they should take a picture of it if possible, then remove it quickly. He says most graffiti “artists” or “crews” do it simply for “name recognition.” He says the sooner it’s removed the quicker that “recognition” is denied. 
Stiso says the 88-CRIME tip line is now accepting calls with specific information about someone who may be doing graffiti. Otherwise, he says people should call the TPD graffiti line to report it. He says a graffiti criminal conviction will get a person two days in jail, a $250.00 fine, and they must make restitution to the property owner. He says this can often amount to thousands of dollars.