Our view: Let’s get a grip on graffiti in La Jolla

This week in our Kudos feature on Page A3, we changed the focus to something we don’t like about the Jewel: graffiti.

We’ve been fairly lucky, for the most part, to have eluded the vandals who get a charge out of defacing public and private property. But in this case, the fact that they are disturbing the scenic beauty of one of La Jolla’s most well known spots — and further, the rocks themselves that line WindanSea beach — merits attention.

Across the city, the malicious work of these folks costs about $1 million a year. It’s an offense that parents ought to take heed of: If your child is under 18 and is convicted of participating in the offense, you can be billed up to $10,000 for removal costs.

If convicted, the “bad guys” can be jailed or sent to juvenile hall and can be required to work on crews painting out graffiti or can lose their drivers’ licenses. On top of that, the city ordinance “requires that property owners keep all walls, buildings, fences, signs and other structures and surfaces visible from the public right-of-way free of graffiti.”

Sometimes the work of gang members, graffiti is often done by “taggers” who want to be noticed. For those types, there generally are no limits to where they strike.

City officials, as noted on the city’s website, say, “Quick removal of graffiti is important because it discourages more tagging.” So, to repeat: If you see graffiti vandals in the act, call 9-1-1 and report immediately. If you see existing graffiti that needs removing, you can use the online complaint form at the website, offers tips for parents and has a way to volunteer for paint-outs or adopt-a-block efforts. There are also interactive features aimed at helping children understand graffiti and the punishments and, in conjunction with I Love a Clean San Diego, a school assembly program is available.

Let’s get serious about wiping out graffiti in our community by not looking the other way when we see it. Report it right away.