Graffiti and tagging are an ongoing issue for businesses and residents in Bellingham. While some graffiti may be quite artistic, it is rarely done with the permission from the property owner.
Tagging differs from graffiti as it has roots in gang activity. These tags serve as territorial markers and even messages from one gang to another. Both are generally considered eyesores in a neighborhood.
While our officers are assigned smart phones and can photograph the graffiti or tagging quickly, the increase in emergent calls is making it more difficult to respond to these calls in a timely fashion. Because it is important to us for graffiti and tagging reports to be documented in a report, we have recently added ‘graffiti’ as an on-line reporting option.
Each time a graffiti report is submitted on-line, and photos are attached, it allows us to track this activity and focus our patrol routes if we are being overwhelmed with damage in a particular area. It also allows for comparison of tags which can lead to the identification of the suspect and eventual accountability for their actions. After a victim of graffiti or tagging reports and photographs the damage, we encourage immediate removal by cleaning or painting over it.
If you see graffiti or tagging actively being applied, call 9-1-1. If it is a new piece of graffiti or tagging which appeared at an unknown time by unknown suspects, submit an online report here.