Oakland residents frustrated with graffiti taggers


The residents feel victimized by the trend known as "graffiti bombing." They say it's not gun-toting gang members that are responsible, but rather neighborhood kids with nothing better to do.

Kevin Carlos-Valentino was drawn to his second story window Saturday just before 2 a.m. when he heard noise he thought was his neighbor's backyard party. Instead it was the neighbor and his guests trying to stop a group of about 30 graffiti taggers in black hoodies.

"I saw him trying to keep the people from vandalizing his building, so I was on phone with police, not knowing my building had already been bombed," he said.

"Well, first they came over into the party a little bit, and disrupting things, being disrespectful to people, actually spraying people with spray paint, and then they started bombing and showing off; they were actually filming themselves," Oakland resident Zachary said.

Zachary has tried unsuccessfully covering the graffiti on his building with one coat of paint. Carlos Valentino says his landlord just painted the exterior four months ago.

The vandalism included Carlos-Valentino's building, which is a church downstairs and apartments above, Zachary's apartment building and another building down the block.

They're used to seeing graffiti -- just not like this.

"This type of graffiti has never happened on people's proterties," Carlos-Valentino said. "Normally they go on vacant lots, but this is where people live, where people worship."

"This is just totally disrespectful to people in the community who ask you to stop, get aggressive toward people living here, just wrong," Zachary said.

Zachary says the taggers were there at least a half-hour. Police arrived after they had left.

"There are identifiable names on this; I've talked to the police, they're familiar with the crew, we want them to handle their business, to take care of them," Carlos-Valentino said.

Police say catching graffiti bombers is difficult because it is so common but the city does have a program to help residents clean up.

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