The Reno Police Department partners with the community to help stop this frustrating and destructive crime. Reporting graffiti immediately will dramatically increase the chance of arresting offenders.
Report Graffiti Vandalism Immediately
There are different ways to report GRAFFITI in your neighborhood:
- If you see graffiti in progress, call 9-1-1.
- If you see graffiti not in progress but existing on a building, wall, fence, etc., call Reno Direct at 775-334-4636 (INFO) and tell them the location of the graffiti.
- Or, report Graffiti Online. Please review our Graffiti Disclaimer to better understand our policies.
- You can also call Secret Witness at 775-322-4900 and earn a reward for reporting graffiti criminals. You may be eligible for a cash reward, if the information leads to the arrest and conviction of those involved in the crime of graffiti vandalism. Yes, you can still remain anonymous even if you receive a cash reward.
- Graffiti activity can also be reported by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Reno's Strategic Program to Fight Graffiti Vandalism
A community commitment of no tolerance for the crime of graffiti vandalism and those responsible for it is a key element of the anti-graffiti vandalism strategic program that is being utilized to combat the crime of graffiti throughout the community.
The program, developed by the Reno Police Department has four major components that include community education and engagement, enforcement and abatement activities, a communications plan, and networking across boundaries. Each has numerous sub-activities designed to maximize use of existing resources and engage the community in fighting graffiti vandalism. The goals of the Reno Police Department’s anti-graffiti vandalism strategic program are to prevent the crime of graffiti vandalism and to aggressively pursue and prosecute offenders.
"No Tolerance" Plan
The involvement of the community is essential in sending a “No Tolerance” for graffiti vandalism message. The plan calls for engaging residents in the anti-graffiti vandalism program through neighborhood organizations or community groups to establish a volunteer base to support proactive citizen efforts such as surveillance and patrol as well as distribution of anti-graffiti kits, neighborhood education programs and anti-graffiti cleanup days. Parental involvement is also a key element in preventing the crime of graffiti vandalism through awareness, child-parent communications and parental observation that may help detect the involvement of youth in graffiti vandalism activities.
The plan also calls for abatement of graffiti-vandalism within 48 hours, a streamlined graffiti vandalism reporting system and extensive case investigation and follow-up. Other enforcement elements include graffiti vandalism offender sweeps, increased electronic surveillance measures and tactical activities. The plan also seeks to enforce graffiti vandalism ordinances including those related to the storage and sales of graffiti vandalism tools/implements, and increased compliance with graffiti vandalism tool/implement control measures.
The communications element of the plan seeks increased community awareness of the impact of graffiti vandalism through public service announcements, news releases on arrests and convictions, brochures, interactive City and Reno Police Department webpage sections, theater advertising as well as monthly situation.
Graffiti has Significant Negative Impact on Neighborhoods
Graffiti vandalism is a significant problem on the national level as well as the local level. The cost of graffiti vandalism nationally is estimated at more than $15 billion, with about $8 billion spent on abatement activities alone, according to the National Center for Problem Oriented Policing. Graffiti vandalism has a significant negative impact on the quality of life for residents, as well as a negative impact on business by contributing to blight and fear and its association with other criminal activity.
Involvement of Residents and Business Owners
The involvement of residents and business owners within their neighborhoods is critical to fighting the crime of graffiti vandalism. The aggressive commitment of residents and business/property owners to a community-police partnership will signal widespread disapproval of the crime of graffiti vandalism in our community and help support police enforcement activities. There are many areas in which residents and business owners can become involved in their neighborhoods that include:
- Providing additional “eyes and ears” to detect and report incidents of graffiti vandalism and identifying those responsible for the crime.
- Delivering educational programs to inform youth and adult audiences of the impact of graffiti vandalism, its prevention, and the consequences related to graffiti vandalism.
- Helping with distribution of graffiti-clean up kits to help immediately wipe out the blight of this crime.
- Coordinating citizen efforts to combat graffiti vandalism.
- Participating in neighborhood graffiti clean-up days.
- Participating in anti-graffiti vandalism efforts wherever needed and working with respective neighborhoods to combat this crime.
Recognizing TaggersTaggers: They tend to be male (although females have been known to tag as well), between the ages of 12 and 37. They run in groups called "crews."
Crews or "Krews": They have names like Deep Destruction, Tone Quest, Highway Knights, etc. They may identify themselves through the group's initials (DD, TQ, HK).
Nicknames: Each tagger uses a unique symbol, mark or nickname; no two nicknames are the same.
Clothing: Taggers often wear baggy pants or shorts. Special pockets are often sewn into them to hold paint cans, markers, and/or paint sticks.
Accessories: Backpacks - referred to as "tag bags" - can carry paint and supplies like etching tools, paint cans, paint tips, markers, stickers or labels, etc.
Motivation: Taggers say that they are "addicted" to tagging - to the attention and recognition, as well as the "rush" from doing something illegal and getting away with it.Talk to your kids about the dangers of tagging. Contact the Graffiti Enforcement Team about Graffiti Education at 775-334-3852. View the Graffiti Brochure.
Other Tools to Combat the Crime of Graffiti Vandalism
The Reno City Council has approved a number of tools to fight the crime of graffiti vandalism and to continue its support of community-wide anti-graffiti efforts.
Secret Witness Reward Program
One important resource in the fight against the crime of graffiti vandalism is a reward program for the arrest and conviction of graffiti vandals funded through donations from private businesses and managed by the Secret Witness program. The Secret Witness anti-graffiti reward program provides cash rewards up to $1,000 each to individuals for information leading to the arrest and conviction of graffiti vandals.
Graffiti Abatement Vehicle
Graffiti Abatement Vehicles
Removal of graffiti immediately is a strategic element of the City’s anti-graffiti vandalism efforts, because graffiti that remains in place for a length of time can result in criminal activity that is directly related to the graffiti itself, especially when it is used as a threat or challenge to another gang or another graffiti tagging crew. With two dedicated graffiti abatement technicians operating two graffiti trucks, the Reno Police is able to remove graffiti within 48 hours. The graffiti trucks are able to maneuver in and out of tight confinements in the city.
Keeping Property-Owner Waivers on File
Some delays to removal of graffiti vandalism on private property occurred in the past because of a delay in obtaining a signed waiver from property owners to remove graffiti vandalism. As a result, the Reno Police Department is researching ways to distribute requests for signed waivers from commercial property owners so that quicker response to reported graffiti on private property is possible by keeping signed waivers on file with the Reno Police Department. Download the Property-Owners Waiver Form (English / Spanish).
The City has anti-graffiti kits, each contain various solvents for removing graffiti on a variety of surfaces, eye protection, plastic gloves, a dust mask, sponge and steel wool. The kits are available to the community on a volunteer basis to assist with graffiti removal in neighborhoods and are also utilized during neighborhood graffiti clean-up days.
Surveillance cameras are used in high target areas as a successful deterrent to graffiti activity . They provide police with photos from which investigative information is developed. The cameras are self-powered and can be secured to various types of structures. The cameras activate when motion is detected, take photos, and issue a verbal warning about the consequences of the illegal act. The Reno Police Department coordinates installation of these cameras to target high-incident graffiti vandalism areas.
Tighter Anti-Graffiti Measures and Possible Felony Graffiti Charges
Nevada State law makes it possible to combine separate graffiti incidents resulting in potential felony charges for those involved in the crime of graffiti vandalism. The felony graffiti charge carries a potential sentence of 1-3 years in Nevada State Prison as well as restitution for the cost of graffiti removal.
Ordinance Changes Controlling Access to Graffiti Materials
The Reno City Council also approved ordinance changes aimed at controlling access to items that are typically used to create unwanted graffiti on private and public property around the City. The Reno Municipal Code now prohibits possession of graffiti materials by juveniles on or near school property or other public property. It also criminalizes possession of graffiti materials with the intent to place graffiti on public or private property. The proposal defines graffiti materials as “Materials used to facilitate the placement of graffiti,” and includes “aerosol paint containers, aerosol paint container tips, broad-tipped markers with a width great than 1/16 inch, paint sticks, graffiti sticks, engraving devices, etching tools, or any other implement capable of marking on and/or scarring glass, metal, concrete or wood.”
The ordinance prohibits sale of graffiti materials to minors without parental consent, and requires retailers to maintain surveillance of displays of graffiti materials, or keep the materials in displays that are accessible only through employee assistance. Larger businesses that typically sell materials used for graffiti have been contacted, and others will be contacted as the City’s anti-graffiti program continues.
Juveniles charged with violating the proposed ordinance and their parents or guardians appear before Juvenile Court. At its discretion, the Juvenile Court can order restitution and community service, and apply provisions in State law to suspend a juvenile’s driver’s license.