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Criminal Justice

You're walking in an alley and then..

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You're walking in a dark alley. Maybe you are just walking. Maybe you are spraying graffiti. Flash. Beep! Beep! "Leave now!" a voice from somewhere in the dark says.

From a Council District 2 press release:

"With the dramatic rise in gang violence in the San Fernando Valley, we need to take proactive steps to keep our neighborhoods safe," said Councilwoman Greuel. "These cameras will serve as a deterrent and help the LAPD catch criminals. This is an important step in cleaning up our streets by standing together to declare a war against graffiti in Council District 2." The Q Star Cameras are being strategically placed at locations that have been frequent targets of graffiti. The cameras are initially activated by motion, then flash a bright light and play the recorded message...


The first camera was installed in North Hollywood on a street that has been plagued by graffiti. In the past month alone, City crews were deployed 15 different times to remove 47 different pieces of graffiti at a cost of $2,000. The photographs from the Q Star cameras can be shared with the LAPD, Councilwoman Greuel's office and neighborhood watches to help catch criminals.

According to LAPD statistics, gang violence increased 43% across the San Fernando Valley last year and an additional 12% in 2007. However, in 2007 there has been a 300% increase in graffiti removed from Council District 2, compared to the same period last year.


The "Broken Windows" theory of crime fighting, which Chief Bratton has instituted throughout the LAPD, is predicated on the belief that stopping violent crime begins with cracking down on smaller crimes likes vandalism. All urban blight contributes to the progressive deterioration of neighborhood safety, but no vandalism is more inherently tied to violence and gang activity than graffiti.