New technology catches vandals

by Ana Ceballos

One of the 277 vandalism sites, caused by juveniles, from in the past few weeks. | MCT Campus
One of the 277 vandalism sites, caused by juveniles, from in the past few weeks. | MCT Campus

During the past few weeks, five juveniles were charged for $25,000 in damages relating to 277 individual tagging crimes covering 3,580 square feet of Metropolitan Transit System property.

The accused vandals were located via Graffiti Tracker, a regional tracking system, in which pictures of tagged crimes are introduced to the database by GPS-enabled cameras to help identify matching types of graffiti. Because of this system, investigators were able to hold the minors accountable for crimes that matched their style and technique.

“Each year we have close to $1 million in costs to repair vandalism on our bus and trolley vehicles as well as to our property along our rail lines,” Paul Jablonski, chief executive officer of MTS said in a press release last week. “This system not only allows us to catch and prosecute the vandals, but to recover some of our costs to repair the damage.”

All cities in the county are now utilizing the year-old, anti-tagging tracking system in hope of providing protection to more than 90 bus routes and 53 miles of trolley rail MTS owns.

“This bust shows that the regional graffiti program we launched last year is having a tremendous impact,” county supervisor and driving force behind the program, Greg Cox, said. “Our message for graffiti vandals is simple: There’s nowhere to hide. We’re going to catch you, prosecute you and make you pay for the damages you’ve caused.”

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