Major Crimes Down in Boise, Graffiti Way Up


Boise Police Chief Mike Masterson is proud of the latest statistical report on crime with one major exception: graffiti.

For the first quarter of 2011, major crimes dropped more than 5 percent compared to the same period a year ago. That includes aggravated assault, rape and theft. Non-violent crimes, including public drunkenness, disorderly conduct and bad checks, dropped 7 percent.

But graffiti continues to mar the city. Graffiti reports are up 261 percent from 104 reports a year ago to 376 reports.

"Graffiti is essentially someone going onto someone else's property and vandalizing it," said Masterson.

The vast majority of graffiti in Boise is known as "tagging," a signature or symbol from an individuals or group but traditionally not a gang. Boise Police officials said primary offenders are males, age 18-25. Officers say typically a small number of offenders, perhaps two dozen people, are responsible for the vast majority of graffiti crimes.