More than a dozen arrested in Fresno Graffiti Abatement Operation

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) — This year alone, the city of Fresno has spent more than $2.6 million cleaning up graffiti.

On Wednesday, local leaders announced the arrests of more than a dozen people accused of causing more than $120 thousand in damages.

“If you’re going to tag in our city, this task force will identify you, arrest you, and prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law,” said Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyery.

City leaders say they’re making good on that promise by the mayor announcing 14 people considered “prolific taggers” are facing felony charges for damaging graffiti.

In February, the city attorney’s office, Fresno Police, and the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office launched an effort to clean up the city and hold graffiti vandals accountable.

“It’s costing our community, it’s costing us taxpayer base, it’s costing us businesses coming to this community, and it’s costing people to have fear, because when you walk down the street, your average person doesn’t know if it’s a gang tagging or something else,” said Balderrama. “They just see the graffiti, and they don’t feel safe.”

Since the start of the effort, Police Chief Paco Balderrama said there have been more than 7 thousand abatement tickets. Through the investigations and arrests, other crimes have been discovered, including illegal weapons and marijuana grows.

Agencies involved credit the group effort for the success so far.

“The work that the Fresno Police Department does every day is high quality, it is efficient, it is effective, we’ve told them what we need to have in order to bring these cases to the felony level and that’s what they do,” said Lisa Smittcamp, Fresno County District Attorney.

If you see graffiti in the city, you’re encouraged to report it through the FresGo app or call 311.

When this operation was first announced in February, it was said the city attorney’s office would be used for lower-level offenses, especially when it comes to minors and holding their parents responsible, but according to the mayor, they haven’t had to do that yet.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.