Sheriff's Office

For Immediate Release

PR #: 2000080
Date Issued: Jun 25, 2020 - 1:17pm

Washoe County Sheriff's Office reports regional spike in graffiti

CONTACT: Sarah Johns
911 Parr Blvd
Reno, NV. 89512
Office: 775-785-6235
Cell: 775-391-0407

Washoe County Sheriff Darin Balaam says investigators are noticing an increase in graffiti reports south from Incline Village, north to Highland Ranch.

"In the last month our graffiti caseload has grown - and those are just the reported cases," Sheriff Balaam said. "Tagging on buildings and in neighborhoods tends to increase during the summer and that is why it is so important for members of our community to report graffiti to us right now. Removing graffiti is a priority for the Sheriff's Office because defacing places in our community is unsightly and has a negative effect on everyone."

Graffiti is the #1 property crime in Northern Nevada and can greatly affect property values. It is estimated that up to $25,000 can be reduced from the appraised value of a home when there is visible graffiti in the area.

"Our deputies are tracking and patrolling throughout Washoe County to find tags and continue to help build a safe and healthy community for us all to enjoy," Balaam added.

The most effective way for members of the community to report graffiti is by downloading the Washoe County Sheriff's Office free mobile app. Anyone who sees graffiti in their neighborhood is able to upload a picture of the graffiti which will be sent (along with the GPS coordinates) to the Sheriff's Office. Investigators would prefer community members to provide their names and email addresses as well; however, that information isn't mandatory.


While traditional gangs are active in placing graffiti, more than 80% of graffiti is placed by graffiti vandals called "taggers". Most taggers belong to gangs called "tag crews", or "tag krews". Taggers will most often tag walls and areas which are highly visible to the public and other taggers. This is how they achieve their mission and gain fame. More daring taggers will use repelling gear, drop ladders, ropes, roll ladders or other means to tag bridges, overpasses and freeway signs. The more difficult the location, the more fame a tagger will gain. Occasionally taggers will vandalize police vehicles and buildings. It is a sure way to gain fast credibility in the graffiti world.


The Washoe County Sheriff's Office is dedicated to preserving a safe and secure community with professionalism, respect, integrity and the highest commitment to equality. Sheriff Darin Balaam is the 27th person elected to serve as the Sheriff of Washoe County since the Office was created in 1861. The Washoe County Sheriff's Office strives to ensure public safety by building trust and creating partnerships within the diverse communities in which we serve. We will promote the dignity of all people supported by our words and actions through open communication while fostering an environment of professionalism, integrity and mutual respect.