New technology helps Phoenix police bust graffiti vandal

Posted: Updated:
Joel Delgado By Jennifer Thomas Joel Delgado By Jennifer Thomas
It is estimated that Joel Delgado has committed graffiti at more than 300 locations in Phoenix. By Jennifer Thomas It is estimated that Joel Delgado has committed graffiti at more than 300 locations in Phoenix. By Jennifer Thomas
It is estimated that Joel Delgado has committed graffiti at more than 300 locations in Phoenix. By Jennifer Thomas It is estimated that Joel Delgado has committed graffiti at more than 300 locations in Phoenix. By Jennifer Thomas
It is estimated that Joel Delgado has committed graffiti at more than 300 locations in Phoenix. By Jennifer Thomas It is estimated that Joel Delgado has committed graffiti at more than 300 locations in Phoenix. By Jennifer Thomas
It is estimated that Joel Delgado has committed graffiti at more than 300 locations in Phoenix. By Jennifer Thomas It is estimated that Joel Delgado has committed graffiti at more than 300 locations in Phoenix. By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX -- Phoenix police arrested a graffiti vandal who tagged more than 300 sites in less than two years.

According to the Maricopa County Attorney's Office, Joel Delgado, 27, is considered to be the most prolific graffiti vandal in the city. He reportedly confessed to vandalizing more than 300 locations in Phoenix over approximately 20 months.

"I get a rush out of it and I can’t stop," Delgado told authorities.

Delgado was tracked and investigated using new technology that allowed authorities to observe all the places he tagged, providing clues leading to his arrest.

Delgado was indicted on one count of criminal damage and one count of aggravated criminal damage. He faces up to 6.25 years in prison.

Phoenix Neighborhood Services spent approximately $20,000 cleaning Delgado's tags off of walls, signs, poles, trash cans, and various other properties.

Graffiti has become of greater concern to government officials in the last five years because incidents have risen dramatically. According to the Maricopa County Attorney's Office, statistics show that Phoenix Graffiti Busters is spending more than $2 million a year to clean off graffiti, a 67 percent increase from five years ago. Last year alone, Graffiti Busters painted more than 65,699 sites.

According to Bill Fitzgerald with the Maricopa County Attorney's Office, the new technology will allow the Phoenix Police Department to track more vandals, catch them, and hold them responsible for all the graffiti they have done, rather than just the one tag they are caught doing.

Now, there is a way that citizens can help. There is a new application available to all iPhone and Droid phone users that allows them to photograph graffiti using their phone. The photo is then immediately sent to the Phoenix Neighborhood Services database.

To download the free application, search available apps for the keyword "myphoenix." Once installed, open the application and follow the prompts to take a picture of the graffiti and then tap "submit." Citizens can also call the Graffiti Busters 24-hour hotline at 602-495-7014 to report vandalism or request a paint-over.

"Graffiti vandals need to understand that law enforcement has come a long way," said County Attorney Rick Romley. "If you do graffiti, we now have the tools to track you down and catch you, and when we do, you can be sure that we will prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law."

For more information about the app, visit http://phoenix.gov.