Tuesday, November 6 2012, 11:36 AM CST
Interpreting gang graffiti
By David De Rurange/KTVL.com
MEDFORD, Ore. -- Gangs don't care about your family or the law. They don't consider the innocent, the children and the disabled. Gangs hurt whoever is in their way. They'll tag whatever is in their path.
Marci Donaldson and her mother have cleaned up gang graffiti on their neighbor's garage before. Now they're doing it again.
There's an "x3" tag on their neighbor's garage, and another similar tag on the fence. Their neighbor is a disabled senior.
Donaldson has volunteered again to paint over the black graffiti.
"She has handicaps and so she doesn't drive." Donalson said. "She rides a scooter. So I don't understand why her house, keeps getting tagged."
Police try to suppress gang graffiti.
"We want to keep it from spreading. If people start to see it in certain areas we can do focus patrols in certain areas to kinda keep gang activity from occurring," Detective Tim Kennedy said. Kennedy is part of the Medford Area Drug and Gang Enforcement team.
He said the first step in preventing a spike in gang activity is to identify what the graffiti means.
In Donaldson's neighbor's case, Sureno gang members identify themselves with the symbol "x3." The "x" stands for the roman numeral 10. Add that with three and you have 13. The 13th letter of the alphabet is "m" standing for Mexican mafia.
According to MADGE, the Mexican mafia is spreading.
Other residents, like White City resident Steven Herring, are noticing significant changes in their neighborhood's landscapes.
"This ain't a gang town." Herring said. "I remember when I was a little kid, this used to be no houses here. There was no gangs. It all used to be dirt... No gangs around here when I was younger. I just don't like what this town has become."
Donaldson is worried about gang graffiti and its influence and that it isn't going away any time soon.
"The tagging is increasing. And homeowners around here are getting very concerned," she said.
Donaldson won't let her disabled neighbor's home become a billboard. She painted over it, restoring her neighbor's garage to its white color. But she anticipates doing it again, and again.
MADGE representatives say in the Rogue Valley, gangs are more often trying to establish notoriety, rather than just territory. They say the quicker you report and remove graffiti, the quicker you'll take back your neighborhood.