"Taggers," as persons who perpetrate graffiti are often known, can strike with great speed and are often exceedingly difficult to apprebend.
Each year they deface large expanses of public and private property, causing untold damage at the expense of businesses, local government entities and individuals.
In early 1993, Redmond, Washington, faced a citywide graffiti problem that threatened to overwhelm the police department' s 56 commissioned officers. The 42,000 residents of this Seattle suburb were filing over 60 graffiti complaints per month (out of an average total of 1700 complaints per month). Before January 1993, the department rarely fielded calls regarding graffiti.
Newspaper editorials implying that police and local government had not been responsive to the issue, or were not equipped to handle the problem, increased the sense of urgency about implementing an effective solution.