'Taking the Tags Off' in Norman

Monday, June 27th 2011, 6:42 pm
By: News 9

Darren Brown, News 9

NORMAN, Oklahoma -- You could call it art, but Norman business owners would probably argue against that characterization.  They would likely call it vandalism.

Graffiti, and the practice of tagging has been something the Norman Police Department has dealt with for years, especially in the downtown and Campus Corner areas.

"It simply is a crime," said Captain Tom Easley.  Easley captured his share of taggers in the past.  "Nobody wants their house, their building, their business defaced."

Norman's graffiti has been traditionally been a back-alley issue, with most of it not visible from the store front.  However, recently some "artists'' have become a little bolder.

"We're not dealing with gangs, we're dealing with taggers who fancy themselves artists," Easley said.  "They want people to see it."

Norman's Public Works Department has taken steps to help small business owners who find themselves victims.  Upon request the department will provide cleaning supplies such as paint thinner and solvent to clean up the mess.

It's a small part of the yearly budget that actually got chopped a few years ago, but was recently brought back due to a community policing effort.

Tagging is considered vandalism, which is a misdemeanor and carries a fine and up to a ninety day jail  sentence in Norman.