Summers see uptick in tagging at Lake Tahoe
Recent incidences of tagging have caused some frustration at the South Shore, but law enforcement officials on both sides of the state line say the unsightly activity remains isolated.
An incident near the Lam Watah Trail on Kahle Drive on July 26 left some historic land markers and bridge with marks. While the markings have been removed by local residents, Douglas County Sheriff Sgt. Pat Brooks said the investigation is ongoing, although there are no leads.
Brooks said tagging appears isolated, random and sometimes difficult to enforce.
“It’s one of those things that are tough to do,” Brooks said. While there are some limits, such as restrictions on selling spray paint to minors, he said the vast majority of tagging may be done by kids using markers or paint.
Brooks stressed there was a difference between tagging and graffiti. Graffiti, he said, was more gang-related. Tagging tends to be more isolated, done by youth and what he expects to be mostly by out-of-towners.
“For tagging, it all depends on the season,” Brooks said. “The summer months are more active than winter months, when kids are out of school and roaming out at night and getting into mischief.”
When juveniles are caught, Brooks said, the county has a program that requires the offenders to clean up the mess.
South Lake Tahoe Police Lt. Brian Williams said the scenario was about the same in the city.
“There doesn’t seem to be a noticeable uptick,” Williams said. The police department does its best to keep track of reported incidents, and ordinances ensure the mess is cleaned up.
This year seems to be consistent with years past, but the vandalism tends to fluctuate, Williams said.
“It’s cyclical,” Williams said. “We see increases during the summer and wind down in the winter.”
Like Brooks, Williams said there’s a difference between graffiti and tagging. Both may revolve around peer pressure, but graffiti is linked more to gang-related activities.
Williams said that, while the area has a gang presence, programs exist at both Lake Tahoe Unified School District and within the community to identify early indicators and act accordingly.