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CLEARFIELD, Utah (AP) -- Police say they've identified 17 people believed to be responsible for 52 gang-related acts of vandalism in the area.
"It was a high priority for us, and we put in a lot of work to clean these up," said Greg Krusi, assistant chief. "That's quite something when you can clean up that many graffiti cases because, usually, they're hard to prove. It only takes seconds to paint them and take off."
Krusi said those responsible for the graffiti are from five gangs: NorteInos, SureInos, Brown Society, Colonial Chiques and AWC (All Wanted Criminals).
He said the vandalism seemed to be aimed at defining gang territories, but so far there hasn't been any violence associated with it.
He said young teens were recruited to cover rival's graffiti with their own. "What we discovered in our investigation is, they consider the Clearfield-Syracuse-Layton area as a NorteIno area. SureInos are considered to be the Ogden-North Ogden-Pleasant View area," he said. "They were sending out juvenile scouts to determine what was tagged. If it had NorteIno tagged in our area, the SureInos in their area would come and tag their stuff," he said.
The three other groups may have affiliations to the more prominent NorteInos and SureInos, but Krusi said he's not sure what those ties are.
He said the constant back-and-forth competition for visibility has frustrated cleanup efforts. "Every time we got something cleaned up, they came out and scratched over it," he said. "Graffiti encourages other graffiti. That's why we were trying to clean it up. We hope to see a decline in graffiti in the next little while."
The 52 instances of graffiti since December 2006 Krusi listed were reported in Layton, Kaysville, Syracuse, Pleasant View, Ogden and North Ogden.
Information from: Standard-Examiner
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)