Wednesday, July 16, 2008


I have been reading a lot about gangs at the same time a lot of graffiti has been appearing in my neighborhood. I have no evidence that said graffiti is related to gang activity in my neighborhood, but I do know there is gang activity in this town. I have seen some of it with my own eyes. It is worth some attention, especially considering how many young people I care about around here.

I can't make "heads nor tails" of it, as my mother would say. I can't even say if it is letters or numbers. The one I just noticed yesterday is red, which is the color sported by the gangs I have seen: red clothes, red cars, red bandannas.

I found this article from January 2004 in the North Coast Journal. Interesting that the main cover story is about the Devil's Playground, a place I photographed back in May. It is an old railway tunnel, covered in colorful graffiti and eerily apocalyptic. I see it as art, but the graffiti in my neighborhood doesn't feel like that.

The sidebar of the NCJ article is about a former gang member who works now (then 2004) for the EPD gang task force. He can decipher tags. From what I read there, markings like what we see here this week are just what I thought, someone in a gang marking territory, like a dog peeing on a hydrant. I live in gang territory. So glad to be moving.

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