Taggers seeking underground recognition and fame cause almost all of the graffiti in Eugene-Springfield. "Tags" take the form of often unreadable words or initials, elaborate designs or bubble-style letters. Tags can derive from a unique name, street name or moniker. Taggers' tools are spray paint, large-tipped pens, devices that etch glass, or adhesive material used to apply tags to a surface. A group of taggers are called a "crew," and a common value among crews is non-conformity to rules or authority. Taggers often refer to themselves as "street artists" or "writers" and to their tags as "art." They don't view their acts as unlawful, believing that tagging is self-expression. However, their acts of vandalism to public and private property add up to thousands of dollars in restoration costs every day.
Graffiti is a gang's means of identifying "turf," proclaiming superiority over other gangs, and issuing challenges and threats to rivals. Unlike tagger graffiti, this type of graffiti will commonly spell out a gang name, their geographic area or a numeric identifier. It can sometimes show an entire list of gang nicknames called a "roll call" or "roster."
Skinhead/Hate Crime Graffiti
Whether it is gang related, hate crime or tagger graffiti, the result is the same: decreased property values, vandalized public assets, and increased fear and anger among residents, business owners and other citizens.