The best way to stop graffiti from destroying our community is to report it right away. If you see an act of vandalism or graffiti, call the Oceanside Police Department immediately at 760-435-4900. When you see graffiti in your neighborhood, call the City’s Graffiti Hotline at 760-435-4466. Reporting graffiti is important so it can be cleaned up and the police can identify the vandals for prosecution.
The Department is committed to preventing and prosecuting those persons responsible for graffiti and vandalism within Oceanside. A variety of methods are used to combat graffiti including specialized patrols, surveillance cameras, citizen reports and the City's Graffiti Hotline. Investigations are coordinated among Graffiti and Gang Detectives to identify and locate individuals responsible for these crimes.
Often the same graffiti is observed at different locations. Detectives continue to develop leads by sharing information regarding known taggers and gang members. Those identified are prosecuted vigorously through the District Attorney's office.
Refer to state and local government drug-use prevention, intervention, and treatment agencies.
Graffiti is Vandalism
Graffiti is a rude inscription or drawing. Tagging is an identifying marker; a name, epithet or identity.
Graffiti is vandalism, which is the damaging or destruction of property of another. Vandalism that causes less than $400 damage is a misdemeanor while damage more than $400 is a felony. There are laws prohibiting anyone under 18 from buying materials used for the writing of graffiti or tagging. Laws have also been passed regarding the possession of certain items for the purpose of tagging or writing graffiti.
Under Oceanside City Code Section 20.25.2, it is unlawful to create a public nuisance by applying graffiti on public or private property. This section also deals with minors in possession of graffiti instruments while on public property or on private property without consent of the owner.
You can be arrested for either tagging or graffiti. If you are an adult, this arrest record will stay with you for life. If you are a juvenile and you have an extensive record, this may also stay with you as an adult. You and your parents may be held civilly liable for the damage. You and your parents could be fined for the damage as part of your court sentence. You may also be ordered by a judge to perform community service as part of your punishment, which may include graffiti removal work.
Oceanside City Code Section 20.25.3 outlines the penalty of this type of vandalism, which is a minimum six hours up to 80 hours community service work removing graffiti.