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Why graffiti trend targeting Salt Lake County homes concerns police

Posted at 8:04 AM, Jun 20, 2024

SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah — A new graffiti trend is literally showing up at the doorsteps of homes located in Salt Lake County - and it has officials concerned.

“People are tagging personal homes,” explained Sergeant John Neron with Unified Police Department’s Metro Gang Unit.

Neron says they began noticing this trend over the last year and can only speculate why it’s occurring right now.

However, Neron can confirm that homes getting defaced are typically located on secondary streets that feed into major roadways. While these types of incidents are rare, he says they are happening frequently enough to generate concern.

To help combat these issues, the Residents Against Graffiti (RAG) group, which was formed several years ago, is jumping into action. RAG, which operates under UPD’s Metro Gang Unit, is made-up of three people who work full-time to remove the illegal markings.

“We try to have our graffiti off in like 24 hours," Neron said.

Efficiency is critical when it comes to covering-up vandalism. Neron explained it’s not only for optics, but for public safety.

“Other rival gangs will come through, and cross out that gang graffiti, and put up their own," he said. "Then we’re just asking for a violent incident to happen.”

Officials have a system that tracks details about the graffiti, where it’s found geographically, what type of property it’s discovered on and other data for further research.

He anticipates instances of graffiti will continue to go up as long as the Salt Lake Valley’s population grows.

If someone discovers graffiti on their private or public property, they can reach out to the RAG group, who will remove the marking for free.