AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.To Segura, fighting graffiti means more than arresting vandals. “That’s just putting a Band-Aid on the situation. I want to get to the root of the situation whatever it is,” he said. Segura believes in getting parents and schools involved. “I feel there’s a lot of things we need to do. Intervention programs, be more available to parents if they need more help,” he said. Segura said if he can’t solve the parents’ problems, he refers them to agencies that can. He shares information with the schools and they do the same with him. “We all help each other,” Segura said. He belongs to a graffiti task force that meets to discuss the latest graffiti trends, partners with other agencies like juvenile probation and keeps tabs on what other police departments are doing. The key words are networking and sharing resources. “Again it’s getting to the root of the problem, not just arresting the person,” he said. Segura is a 12-year veteran of the Police Department whose prior assignment included the gang beat. He is part of the Special Enforcement Team. Segura is called in on every graffiti arrest, according to Lt. Bryan Ellis. He said the officer interviews the person, finds out the tag names, discovers who is in the tagging crews and logs it in a database. While Segura is not the first officer to focus on graffiti enforcement, Ellis said he has broadened the job’s role. He said Segura is more proactive with the schools, is working more with school resource officers and officials. “He’s doing an excellent job,” Ellis said. “It’s far more than arresting the kids. We don’t want them to start (tagging).” Segura said he wants intervention programs to help parents and students and is working with the schools. He recently gave a presentation educating parents about gangs and graffiti at Whittier College. He also wants to go to court to find out how the city can get restitution. The Police Department is also getting more active in juvenile probation searches. Whittier spends an increasing amount to remove graffiti every year. In 2003, graffiti removal cost the city $181,314. Compare that to $283,465 as of June this year. Larry Trujillo, executive director of the Whittier Uptown Association, said it’s hard enough for business owners to maintain property before they go out and see graffiti on their buildings. While one can paint over tagging, he said removing etchings is expensive and could include replacing glass. Mayor Owen Newcomer said graffiti is a big problem because it gives an area a bad image. It costs money to clean up and it happens on a regular basis. “It’s just aggravating the lack of respect to the appearance of the neighborhood and the lack of respect to the property,” Newcomer said. He likens taggers to a more familiar household pest. “Graffiti vandals are like the gophers in my yard. There are not a lot of them but they are busy,” Newcomer said. One of the ways the city fights graffiti is to offer a $500 reward to anyone reporting a vandal who gets arrested for graffiti. The program is so successful, Newcomer said, that they’ve nearly used up the amount budgeted for the reward and will be replenishing the pot. Since the program started in spring, the city has handed out 33 checks. The Whittier Uptown Association also offers a $500 reward if the person is arrested and convicted. That pertains to graffiti committed within the Uptown district’s 33 blocks, Trujillo said. [email protected] (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3026160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! WHITTIER- Officer Frank Segura is a pivotal person in the city’s fight against anyone with the itch to scribble on walls or etch windows. The 35-year-old is tasked with coordinating the Police Department’s graffiti enforcement efforts. He oversees the “Graffiti Tracker” cameras as well as two other cameras placed at locations where graffiti is increasing to capture taggers in action. Graffiti Tracker is a computerized tracking system. It creates a databank of graffiti tags, which can then be traced by police to a specific tagger. Photos from the other cameras called “Q-star” are downloaded to a laptop and are used for identification, prosecution and restitution, police said.