San Diego

Graffiti in Serra Mesa Hardly Sees Light of Day Thanks to Quick Acting Neighbors

Serra Mesa neighbors are fed up with vandals marking up their property with spray paint.

They are not wasting any time taking action to remove the graffiti themselves, which is what law enforcement encourages them to do.

Jones Elementary School had two written marks on the wall and a third on an electrical box on its front lawn.

“It could be the marker’s initials,” said one neighbor who was afraid to show and tell us her identity for fear of the tagger retaliating against her. She has been a Serra Mesa resident for 40 years.

The neighbor bought a can of graffiti remover, called Goof Off, and sprayed it all over the electric box that had two red letters marked on it.

“Oh, it’s coming off now,” she said, scrubbing hard to get the “goof out” of her neighborhood.

She also showed NBC 7 a picture of the two other tags on the school’s wall that she said she emailed the principal about a few days ago. The principal has already had it removed.

A fence on public property about a block away from the school was also tagged with the same two red letters.

The Christian Fellowship Church had the same two letters written in three different locations on the church property. The markings were on a white side wall, a concrete wall, and a blue entry sign.

“I already painted over the wall here, and the entry sign,” said church member, Rick Bussard. “Just frustrating… especially, attacking a church. You can see they have no fear of God, no fear of property.”

The church paid for the supplies to paint over it, while Bussard volunteered his time to clean it up.

All the tags had been marked over the last few days, something Serra Mesa neighbors say they have not seen in many years. Neighbors said in the past, marks have been made on electric boxes, and the city has paid for local artists’ painting supplies to paint over it and make it an artistic statement in the community.

The San Diego Police Department said if someone sees graffiti on property where it does not belong, they should take a picture and then report it to police and the city. They also recommend not waiting for police or the city to fix it. The department asks residents to remove it or paint over it immediately, if they can, after documenting it so that the tagger does not get any recognition for their work.

Police also said if the tagger is caught they will be charged with a misdemeanor. If the amount of property damage adds to more than $1,000 then the tagger could be charged with felony vandalism, SDPD said.

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