In the South Bay, they're tagging like it's 1999.
Graffiti is on the rise in San Jose, with tags at their highest level since the turn of the milennium, accordng to the San Jose Mercury News, and up 38 percent since last year.
And the tags are coming when the city is least-equipped to clean up, the newspaper reported, with budget cuts forcing San Jose to outsource with private companies and other agencies to clean up the tags.
There are 44,405 graffiti tags in San Jose this year, according to city officials. There were 28,295 in 2010, after holding steady between 2,000 and 4,000 from 2000 to 2003, the newspaper reported. In 1999, the year city officials first started tracking tags, there were 71,541, the newspaper reported.
The reasons for the surge are unclear, officials say. It could be the economy (when is it not?). It could be something else. It's not believed to be gang activity. Whatever it is, tagging appears on the rise everywhere, from Alameda to Long Beach, the newspaper reported.
As part of the plan to balance the city's $115 million budget deficit, San Jose officials outsourced the city's graffiti abatement program to a private contractor to save $1 million, the newspaper reported.
Under a $633,000 contract with the city, Graffiti Protective Coatings uses paint that matches the original surface to hide the fact that graffiti was covered up.