Tagger tiff makes a mess of public and private property

EUGENE, Ore. - Taggers are marking public and private property along River Road in the Santa Clara area, and two of the more prolific vandals appear to be in a fight to tag over the top of the other's graffiti.

"Somebody is having a territorial battle," said Eugene Police Sgt. Scott McKee on Thursday, "this is my neighborhood, this is my territory. And so the crossing it out is just, I don't want your name up here, I want mine up here. This is my area."

McKee said 75 to 80 percent of the graffiti in Eugene is done by taggers or "tagging crews." These are groups or individuals who are most likely not gang affiliated but want their graffiti moniker or tag siganature known around a certain area.

KVAL News counted more than 50 spray-painted tags from Spring Creek Drive south to the Randy Pape Beltline along River Road.

Two of the taggers have been actively painting over the other's tags, slandering each other's graffiti using vulgar text before spray painting their own moniker.

Eugene Police said there are many other areas around town where similar tagging battles have taken place.

McKee said the best way for property owners to fight back is to paint over the graffiti, but he said to snap a picture first so law enforcement can log, track and better prosecute taggers that are arrested.

"That if you mark over it, and you paint it as yours again, and you cover it, they're not going to be able to keep their word up anymore," said McKee. "And they're going to move on and go do it somewhere else."

McKee said it is a myth that taggers will seek retaliation against property owners who paint over graffiti.

Ty Steele from KVAL News looked into what the community can do to fight back. Watch KVAL News and for more on this story