The city's graffiti removal teams have cleaned up more than 3,500 cases of graffiti since the new fiscal year began.


"Since July 1, we have received 3,608 reports of graffiti," Kelly Malloy, spokeswoman for the city of Hesperia, said. "It's actually on schedule for the same rate as last year, possibly still a little higher."


In the 2010-11 fiscal year, the city cleaned up about 7,500 cases of graffiti, with the bulk of it coming during the summer months.


"You figure warmer weather and when school is out of session," Malloy said. "Those are our two factors that contribute to a rise in graffiti."


The city maintains two full-time, two-person graffiti abatement crews, and can bring in a third team that normally focuses on road striping and other maintenance work. The city expects to spend $300,000 on graffiti clean up and removal this fiscal year.


The full-time crews mean a fast turn-around for most reported graffiti, according to Malloy.


"We're pretty much on track for 24 hours" from reporting to removal, she said.


Graffiti in the public right of way or on public property can be cleaned up immediately.


"We can work on that without getting any additional permission," she said.


Private property can take longer.


"There may be a case where we would need to receive a Right of Entry form from the property owner," Malloy said. "There may be a renter, (but) they can't authorize us to enter the property."


There are also occasions where a location has code enforcement issues, and the site is left intact while those are resolved.


The city's Code Enforcement officers meet regularly with representatives of the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department and the Hesperia Unified school police to share information about graffiti and to identify taggers.


"That's one of the most effective ways of combating graffiti and stopping people," Malloy said.


To report graffiti in Hesperia, call (760) 947-1600 and leave a message.


Malloy cautions residents never to confront taggers. A woman was shot and killed in 2007 after she confronted a group of young men marking up a trash container on her property.


"If anyone sees someone tagging, call the police at (760) 245-4211," she said.


Callers who wish to remain anonymous can instead call (800) 78-CRIME.


"One of the best ways to combat graffiti is to have a mindful, aware community," Malloy said. "The faster we can take graffiti down, the less likely that area is to become a problem, which is why we strive to have a 24-hour removal time."


Beau Yarbrough may be reached at (760) 956-7108 or at beau@HesperiaStar.com. Follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/Hesperia.Star.