first_imgSimi Valley police Lt. Greg Riegert said his department has been focusing attention of graffiti vandalism as soon as it arises. “After the last arrests in December we had no graffiti for several weeks,” he said. “The new cases developed in the last few weeks. … It goes in spurts.” “When you suddenly get hit with a whole bunch of damage, it attracts attention,” he said. “The public is on the lookout for it. Our biggest help is from the schools.” As to why teenagers would get involved in this type of activity, Riegert said it had something to do with boredom and thrill-seeking. “They know they can get caught, and that’s where the thrill comes from,” he said. [email protected] (805) 583-7602 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! SIMI VALLEY – On the lookout for graffiti after a dramatic increase in tagging last year, police have arrested four teenagers suspected of causing $13,000 in damage to local schools, officials said. The four boys were arrested last week in connection with graffiti found at Royal and Moorpark high schools and Hollow Hills Elementary School. They were apprehended after one was seen with his characteristic tag on some personal property he had at school. “They are not gang members. They are taggers,” said Sgt. Darin Muehler, supervisor of the Simi Valley Police Department’s Special Problems Section. “These kids put this out there so they’re known. That’s why they go out on what they call `bombing runs,’ putting up their graffiti where it can be seen by others.” Muehler said one of the taggers told police he did it for the notoriety. “They hit the schools because that’s where they can get the most recognition the quickest,” he said. In December, six other teenagers were arrested in connection with a tagging spree that caused $60,000 in damage. Muehler said those six are not connected with the recent spate of vandalism. Simi Valley officials have been tracking graffiti vandalism since 1990; results are posted on the city’s Web site, www.simivalley.org. They report that graffiti cases peaked in 1993, with 4,038 incidents, and dropped to a low of 526 in 2002. Since then, however, graffiti cases have risen to 2,388 in 2006, dramatically above the 856 cases in 2005. The situation shocked city officials and led to the hiring last summer of a graffiti-abatement officer at a cost of $95,000 annually. last_img