A security guard patrols the college grounds, keeping a watchful eye over the vacant campus. Suddenly he sees out of the corner of his eye a dark figure shuffling around in the shadows. He moves cautiously in that direction, not knowing whether the intruder is dangerous. Around the corner he sees the stranger with a can of spray paint tagging lampposts and park benches. “Stop!” calls the security guard as he chases after the vandal who quickly disappears into the night.
Tagging or graffiti has become an increasing problem at Santa Ana College. While it is a victimless crime, it leaves the school with the bill for cleanup and repairs.
The majority of maintenance done on campus involves cleaning up the results of such vandalism, costing the college thousands of dollars in labor. In a time characterized by budget cuts and layoffs, many of these repairs are deferred.
It is unfortunate the money that we spend on taxes and tuition has to go towards cleaning up the product of someone’s bad day.
The culprit, in most cases, is never caught. However, security can often tie certain tags back to specific gangs and individuals.
Last year a student from Gonzalo and Felicitas Mendez Fundamental Intermediate School was caught after tagging on campus when law enforcement matched his moniker to others found around Santa Ana. He was apprehended and his parents paid the damage.
Perhaps that student was misbehaving like a child; perhaps he or she just wanted to leave their mark. Either way, what they did was vandalism.
It is times like these — when funds are in short supply — that we should work together to make our campus a better place instead of ruining it.