What is tagging?

Tagging is not an art form or about expressing oneself. It is vandalism and the destruction of private and public property. Tagging is any unauthorized marking, etching, scratching, drawing, painting or defacing of any surface of public, private, real or personal property.

Tagging causes blight in our community resulting in a genuine threat to the quality of life, incalculable economic losses to businesses, and can lead to the general deterioration of the area in which you live or work. The eradication of graffiti is a huge drain on the City’s resources in both cost and manpower. In most cases, the difference between graffiti being art or a crime is permission!

Is your child a tagger?

child tagger

Click here for larger PDF of image.

Taggers come from every race and socio-economic background. Although most taggers are males there are female taggers. Some indicators that your child may be a tagger are:

  • Your child is in the age group statistically associated with tagging, ages 12-18
  • Your child has tagging written on their clothing such as their shoes or inside their baseball cap, schoolbooks, notebooks, backpacks, cd covers, and on their bedroom furniture or walls
  • Your child frequently wears baggy pants or carries a large backpack. These are used to carry cans of spray-paint, various colors and types of magic markers, etching tools, slap tags and cameras to take photos of their taggings. The clothes and backpack may be paint stained
  • Your child has large quantities of magic markers in various colors, types and sizes, spray-paint cans, shoe polish containers, or dot markers used to mark bingo cards
  • Your child has or carries tools used for etching glass or mirror surfaces such as spark plug porcelain, drill bits, screwdrivers with a sharpened tip, small rocks, or any other type of sharp instrument
  • Your child has large quantities of “Hello My Name Is” stickers, priority mail stickers, or number or letter stickers. These stickers may have drawings or a tagging moniker written on them. These stickers are used to “slap tag.” They are slapped upon a surface and are difficult to remove and generally leave a residue
  • Your child has the same moniker or set of letters written repeatedly on the above-described material. This may be your child’s tagging moniker and tagging crew’s initials
  • Your child is frequently deceitful about their activities and cannot adequately explain why they possess the above described items
  • Your child stays out late at night or has taken to sneaking out of the house
  • Your child frequently has paint or marker residue on their fingertips
  • Your child has or carries a black artist notebook that contains tagging or drawings. These books are called “bibles” or “piece books”
  • Your child frequently visits tagging websites on the computer, owns tagging magazines, or has photographs of tagging in their bedroom
  • Your child has the same tagging on their schoolbooks, clothing or in their bedroom that you see in your neighborhood or surrounding area. Taggers generally tag in or near their own neighborhoods
  • Your child associates with other people who exhibit these same traits. These other people may be members of your child’s “tagging crew”

These are some of the general traits of people involved in tagging. If you have any questions as to whether your child may be involved in tagging, please call the Santa Ana Police Department Graffiti Investigation Detail at (714) 245-8769.

Additional counseling services are also available from various Orange County organizations. For more information, visit for their Comprehensive Resource Guide.

Graffiti Reward Program

The City of Santa Ana also offers a Graffiti Reward Program in the amount of $500 for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of suspects for tagging or graffiti related vandalism. 

Graffiti Task Force

If you have any information that may assist the Graffiti Task Force detectives in the investigation of any particular tagging or graffiti related incident, you can e-mail the GTF at  If you would like to report graffiti for removal, call (877) STOP-TAG or (877) 786-7824.

Graffiti Poster           Graffiti Poster            Graffiti Poster           Graffiti Poster
    (380 KB)                    (296 KB)                   (1.99 MB)                     (164 KB)

Click on any of the images above to view each poster.