Infographic Gaunlet by Jake Dobkin
Some officials, like Mr. Francis, say it is a symptom of summer recess, a tough economy that has left many teenagers out of work and a general sense of anxiety and malaise. “People know the cops aren’t around or they are working on other stuff,” said Bobby Shriver, a member of the Santa Monica City Council.
Neighborhood leaders and law enforcement officials also blamed what they call a glamorization of graffiti, reflected by a new graffiti exhibit at the Sunset Marquis Hotel in West Hollywood, even after an earlier furor over a full-fledged graffiti exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art.
“It’s because of the pop culture,” said Ramona Findley, a Los Angeles police detective who heads the department’s graffiti task force. “It’s very interesting; with your violent crime going down, it seems like your mischievous crime is going up. The art world has accepted it. People make money from graffiti T-shirts. I was in Wal-Mart on Easter, and I saw graffiti Easter eggs.”