Anti-graffiti group goes on the offensive in Ocean Beach

Posted at 6:41 PM, Aug 30, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-30 21:41:00-04

SAN DIEGO - Some Ocean Beach residents are warning potential taggers: You are being watched.

Delinda Lombardo is a member of a group making headway in the battle against tagging in Ocean Beach. She said, "It attracts another element, and it's a destructive element. It takes away from the natural beauty of the cliffs."

Lombardo has lived on Ocean Front Street for 18 years. Last week, during an early afternoon, she was sitting in her living room when she heard a noise.

"I heard my neighbors yell, 'Shoo' and 'Get out.' I came out and I looked down and saw two gentlemen. One was spray painting the wall," said Lombardo.

What followed next was several minutes of frenzy, as she ignored the risk and tried to track down the taggers.

"I was on the phone with 911. I ran through alleys and cut them off before they got to the pier," said Lombardo.

Near the pier, she saw an officer round up the men. She confirmed it was them, and at least one was under arrest.

"They weren't going anywhere. I was going to follow them to El Cajon if need be," said Lombardo.

Lombardo is one of some six core members of the year-old group OB Graffiti Task Force.

"As soon as we have notification of a tag, we have someone here within hours to paint over the tag," said resident Tracey Carrino, who is also a member of the group.

The group also consists of a network of about 500 volunteers. They paint over graffiti, help compile a database of tags for police and continue to report taggers in the act.

The efforts are spelling results, leading to more than 10 arrests.

Lombardo said reports of graffiti have dropped from a few every day to a few every two weeks. The women say they want to send taggers a message.

"They're absolutely not welcome here," said Lombardo.

"Don't come to Ocean Beach. You're wasting your paint," Carrino added.

The group has plans to become a nonprofit and partner up with more paint companies to cover any future tagging. They've started a GoFundMe campaign to help with their efforts.