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Gang graffiti plagues Santa Rosa

  • News/--Glenn Schoeneck the Community Manager of Sonoma Ridge apartment homes in Santa Rosa power washes gang graffiti, Wednesday April 22, 2009 at the complex. Schoeneck is also a volunteer for the Santa Rosa graffiti abatement program. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat)2009

Police call it an ?upswing,? but residents use the word ?rampage.?

Dozens of homes and businesses across Santa Rosa this month have been covered with gang tags, damaging garage doors, sidewalks, cars and bridges in neighborhoods from Bennett Valley to Roseland.

Glen Schoeneck, manager of the apartment complex Sonoma Ridge at Bennett Valley, said tagging in early April left gang names in red and black paint on 13 places on his property.

He felt lucky.

?They got the whole street. Front doors, sides of buildings, dumpsters, garage doors, anything that this group of pranksters saw just walking down the street had black or red graffiti,? he said. ?Fortunately they only tagged my property 13 times.?

April?s upswing is part of a pattern of gang graffiti that has been building over several months, said Santa Rosa gangs detective Craig Schwartz.

But what it means and who is responsible for it remains unclear, he said.

?Generally when the gang graffiti starts to go up, it?s a signal for a rise in tensions. But many times it?s just a bunch of youngsters trying to gain credibility with their set,? Schwartz said.

Property Crimes Sgt. Mike Clark said graffiti tends to come and go in waves.

?One month there will be more and the next less,? he said. ?Maybe we have a new influx of stuff, but it doesn?t necessarily tie into anything specific.?

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