Graffiti Habitual Offender Suppression Team (G.H.O.S.T.)
The Bakersfield Police Department is dedicated to improving the quality of life in the City of Bakersfield and has taken the following actions to reduce the graffiti in our community. The Graffiti Habitual Offender Suppression Team (GHOST) is comprised of three components including prevention, education, enforcement and accountability.
Prevention involves the entire community whom are affected by graffiti vandals and taggers. The Police Department recognizes the importance of this quality of life issue and will develop public/private partnerships to assist in removing graffiti from our community. Continuous work with the Public Works Department, the Kern County Probation Department and area schools will make this program successful. The prevention effort also includes working with other units of local government, private businesses and the rest of the community towards viable solutions to this problem.
The GHOST officers provide training to police department personnel, Kern High School District police, Kern County Probation officers and other social service agencies who have frequent contact with taggers or potential taggers regarding the identification of graffiti and characteristics of taggers.
The Bakersfield Police Department Crime Prevention Unit provides this same information to their neighborhood watch groups and assists with public education. They disseminate information to citizen groups and assists in the development of printed information to be circulated in areas where taggers and tagger groups appear to be most active.
GHOST officers are available to educate private organizations and provide presentations to the public upon request.
GHOST officers work closely with the City of Bakersfield Public Works Department and the 32-ERASE program for timely coordination of graffiti removal. The calls for graffiti problems are centralized to prevent duplication of efforts.
The team conducts research into model programs other police departments have developed and attempts to replicate those portions that are determined to be most effective when utilized in our community.
Bakersfield Police reserve officers are used for enforcement action, performing undercover operations and conducting surveillance in problem areas.
Compliance checks are conducted with retail businesses that sell paint products to ensure they are following the law with regard to the sell of paint products.
A zero tolerance attitude is taken with all individuals involved in illegal graffiti activity and tagging. The graffiti enforcement unit works closely with the Kern County District Attorney’s Office, the Kern County Probation Department, and the courts to seek maximum accountability and restitution for graffiti crimes.
The Kern County Probation Department is committed to filing all juvenile graffiti and tagging cases. The probation department also provides supervision and additional resources for graffiti cover up.
The City of Bakersfield City Attorney’s Office assists the team in the filing of all adult graffiti tagging cases; and payment of restitution related graffiti damage.
Many people think that graffiti is a benign crime. However, the City of Bakersfield spends over one million dollars of your tax money every year to combat it. Like most other crimes, elimination is nearly impossible. But with the cooperation between the community and the Bakersfield Police Department, it can be reduced. The key to successful abatement is reporting it. Call 327-7111 if you see vandalism in progress, or call 32-ERASE if you see graffiti in your neighborhood. All work orders for graffiti removal by city workers are forwarded to the GHOST officers for investigation.
For additional information visit www.BakersfieldGraffiti.us.