Gang and Tagger Graffiti

What is Gang Graffiti?

Graffiti is a means of non-verbal communication used by gangs to mark their territory, threaten violence, honor dead members of the gang, and advertise for recruits. It is also used to show disrespect to rival gangs. Gang members will cross out, reverse, crack, or turn symbols upside down to show disrespect to their rivals. This type of gang activity might appear insignificant, but it is usually the first sign of a gang's presence in a neighborhood, and depending on the markings, may indicate future violence or criminal activity. Residents should not confront or attempt to stop graffiti vandals if they witness the crime being committed, they should report it to the police.
Gangs use graffiti to:

  • Mark territory
  • Intimidate residents
  • Challenge other gangs
  • Respond to rival gangs
  • Display strength/status

Gang Graffiti vs. Tagger Graffiti
Not All Graffiti is Gang Related

Gang Graffiti
Graffiti that promotes a gang.  Used by gangs to:

  • Mark territory
  • Intimidate residents
  • Challenge other gangs
  • Provide responses to rival gangs
  • Attempt to display strength/status

Tagger Graffiti
Graffiti that promotes an individual.

A tagger is a person who seeks notoriety by vandalizing properties without getting caught. Taggers may work in groups referred to as "crews" but they are not considered gangs.

Taggers view their graffiti as artistic and vandalize for:

  • Visibility
  • Notoriety among the public or other taggers
  • The thrill of the act
  • To challenge rival taggers or tagging crews
  • To express views or social commentary

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