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Celebration Honors Work Against Graffiti

After five years of fighting graffiti, the LAPD’s Van Nuys Juvenile Unit held a celebration luncheon at the Japanese Gardens on Thursday to honor the volunteers of the Community Tagger Task Force in the San Fernando Valley.

“This is really a very small token of what we can do to say thank you,” Deputy Chief Michael Bostic said. “We appreciate all the work you do. It means a lot to the community and a tremendous amount to the Police Department.”

Bostic highlighted 45 individuals and organizations that have contributed significantly to the program. Representatives from about half of those groups were on hand to accept a certificate of appreciation from the deputy chief.

Volunteers for the task force have been trained to take pictures of graffiti or tagging and write police reports.

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With an average of 150 citizen volunteers and several reserve officers, the task force has documented more than $5 million worth of graffiti damage during its five-year history, according to police officials.

Based on tips given to police by volunteers, police have prepared and executed more than 50 search warrants, which have resulted in the successful prosecution of about 20 adults and 60 juveniles for graffiti, Van Nuys Juvenile Division Det. Craig Rhudy said.

“Graffiti causes such a blight on a community . . .,” Bostic said. “It’s through efforts like yours that there’s been a great change in the Valley.”


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