Mountain View Police Department
With the majority of the calls the Mountain View Police respond to being things like drunk and disorderly, found property, parking, and quality of life issues, the issue of graffiti and urban blight remain low level priority calls.
Local residents like Giorgio Luckey, who has a known history of crime, keep police busy enough. He was arrested in Mountain View on burglary charges on Monday, November 30. Luckey’s rap sheet tells no sight of luck on this felon’s part. He has been arrested for burglary out of San Mateo, possession of cocaine base for sale, burglary out of Santa Clara, burglary and conspiracy out of Alameda, and has current warrants for his arrest in East Palo Alto.
Mountain View Police Department Sergeant Saul Jaeger pointed out that the department initializes its resources to help patrol public areas and help follow up on pending investigations during lower priority calls. When asked about other issues, such as gang activity, Jaeger pointed out that because of the size of the town and size of the department, there are very low instances of crime such as graffiti and property damage.
Jaeger said, “We haven’t had a large increase in graffiti, but we typically do see an increase towards the beginning of summer, with gangs trying to mark their turf around parks and other areas where they will congregate in larger groups.” According to Jaeger, “The majority of tagging falls under gang graffiti.”
Mountain View generally does not see the homeless not causing too much of a problem, except for blight issues with encampments that might pop up along the creek area. During the year, some tagging intended to threaten someone or something has been scrawled or drawn. However, after responding and investigating the incident, Jaeger said the department is less worried about a known terrorist organization tagging the area, as they are for kids or young adults vandalizing the area.
“When a tagging threatens a known business, or facility, everything is taken seriously, knowing terrorist organizations are not doing a lot of tagging.” Jaeger said, “Clue number one is that the person writing the threat is usually not as serious about the threat, but thinks it is fun to write something of that nature.”
When investigating a tagging, the MVPD will notify the proper authorities in a security protocol to make sure that the threat is voiced and an ongoing investigation into the tagging is started. But with no real ongoing threat, often the department just sees it as someone just trying to get attention.
Tagging may be more obvious in other areas, where schools kids may be seen carving their initials into something or writing with an ink pen, but it is believed that the largest graffiti created with spray paint is often gang related. Jaeger said “The department has seen more graffiti near gang gatherings, parties, and, other activities near parks during the beginning parts of summer as it warms up.” Jaeger said, “The tagging is used for separating turfs of each group, around certain parks and schools.”
The Mountain View Police Department has the luxury of being a midsize department with 100 sworn officers, ready at any time for calls of service. Jaeger said, “Officers are able to be proactive and respond to quality of life issues, parking, and citizen complaints quickly.”