Enumclaw police say recent graffiti not tied to gangs

Buildings and other personal property around Enumclaw have been hit more frequently with spray-painted graffiti, but police do not believe the “tagging” is gang-related.

“It doesn’t appear there are ties to any affiliated gangs in the area,” said Lt. Bob Huebler of the Enumclaw Police Department.

He quickly points out that “area” includes the larger community of South King County, rather than Enumclaw itself. In the city, Huebler said, there is a “wanna-be” faction that might emulate the gang life; he stops short, though, of claiming Enumclaw has a gang presence.

There has been a noticeable uptick  in calls to police regarding tagging – often done by organized gangs to stake out their turf and make their presence known – but the recent incidents are more likely the result of one person with a can of spray paint.

The recent incidents may be curtailed, the lieutenant said, as police last week arrested a man in the act of tagging downtown buildings.

“This pops up every once in a while,” Huebler said, recalling another rash of tagging about two years ago.

When property is tagged, police suggest it’s best to get it covered right away. Huebler said when graffiti goes untouched, it only seems to attract additional tagging.

While the recent rash of tagging might not have police concerned about gangs, that doesn’t mean it’s not taken seriously, Huebler said.

The painted messages are considered malicious mischief, he said, “and show a total disregard for other people’s private property.”

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