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Initial groundwork for the current social significance of graffiti

 in America began around the late 1960s. Around this time, graffiti was used as a form of expression by political activists. It was considered a cheap and easy way to make a statement, with minimal risk to the artist (the artist, often, a hippie).

Gang graffiti also rose in visibility, used by gangs to mark territory. Some gangs that made use of graffiti during this era included the Savage Skulls, La Familia, and Savage Nomads.

Gang relations with graffiti

Groups that live in industrial or poor areas may use graffiti for various purposes, especially if many groups populate one specific area or city. The main use is to mark either territory or "turf" by tagging a space such as a wall on building near or on the boundaries of a gang's turf to inform other gangs of their presence.


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Adobe Power Washing
12 Irnam Wood Ct # B, Petaluma, CA 707 975-2091


21 Bernice St, San Francisco, CA 415 348-0504

Econ-O-Sweep-Graffiti Control
1599 Hampton Way, Santa Rosa, CA 707 522-1680

Graffiti Hotline
San Rafael, CA 415 485-5326

Graffiti Removal Specialists
2575 Stanwell Dr # A, Concord, CA 925-798-9040

North Marin Painting
160 Ford Way, Novato, CA 415 892-0199

S & B Soda Blast & Graffitti
2434 Teaberry St, Santa Rosa, CA 707 578-7773

Spurgeon Painting Inc
1308 Dynamic St # 8, Petaluma, CA 707 763-7185
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Usually, this type of tag will have the name of the gang. They are also used to communicate with other gangs, usually to warn them of a coming assassination of a certain member, by either writing the member's street name and crossing it out, or by finding tags by the member and crossing them out.

If a gang overwrites another gang's tag, it is also the symbol of a takeover of a gang's turf or a sign of aggression toward the gang. While most cities now take measures to prevent this, such as washing or erasing tags, it was much more common in the mid 1980s when crime waves ran high.

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