Tag, you’re “it”!

Many of us live in hoods where tagging is just part of the everyday city landscape. And even though personally I’m a fan of street art and graf, nobody likes to wake up to find placas up on their very own garage, storefront or home. There are parts of Los Angeles where tagging is just a mere nuisance of kids trying to get up, little toys who don’t have the skills to put up a decent piece yet and don’t really have any criminal connections. But east of the 101, a lot of the tagging is directly gang related, and it really is more notable when you realize your street corner has been marked as the property of the Mexican Mafia.

Just this past week our apartment wall got hit and I wasn’t all to pleased with the bright blue arabesque signature that was strewn across like a fluorescent coloured scarf over a wedding gown. But a day later it was gone, completely painted over! I initially thought this was due to the dilligence of our management. But after discussion with another friend who had a similar “here today, gone tomorrow” experience at his place in Chinatown, we realized there was an actual Los Angeles County Department of Public Works 24-hour hotline where one can request graffiti removal. So if you suddenly find yourself advertised as a new franchise location for some shady criminal activities, contact: Graffiti Hotline at (800) 675-4357. Best of all, its free (well, your tax dollars are footing the bill in reality, but who’s counting?)

4 thoughts on “Tag, you’re “it”!”

  1. I DESPISE tag-banging. That bullshit’s not art, it’s adolescent territory marking. As I’m sure you know, real writers have a loosely defined code of ethics about when and where to write, and writing on private property is generally not looked upon well. Then again, that’s writers and not gangsters. If you’re interested, there was actually just a thread about this in the Graffiti tribe on Tribe.net.

    Anyway, thanks for the resource. Since I just bought a house in Echo Park/Rampart that’s surrounded by a big clean cream-colored brick wall I’ve been trying to figure out the best way to keep it tag free. I’m sure the number will come in handy (although the neighborhood is surprisingly tag free, maybe it’s because I technically live W of the 101).

  2. The city of Los Angeles’ counterpart to the county’s grafitti abatement program is Operation Clean Sweep, which staffs a grafitti hotline at 800/611-CITY (2489). You can phone in grafitti reports or submit them electronically via their online grafitti removal request form at:


    The OCS webpage states that reported grafitti “should be removed within four business days.”

  3. I hate tagging, and I can barely tolerate “graffiti art.” I have the graffiti removal number programmed into my phone, and I’m usually the first to call whenever I see some loser’s handiwork. I’m cleaning up Highland Park one tag at a time.

  4. Yeah, I have this crappy Space Invader mosaic outside my gallery – think graffiti removal will take it away? In Chicago they’re called “Daley’s Graffiti Blasters” – they walk around with boom-boxes and paint over graffiti.

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