PROVO In just six weeks, police arrested seven boys they believe are connected to more than 77 cases of graffiti in the city.
The juveniles from 12 to 17 are all Provo residents and some have gang affiliations.
Police Sgt. DeVon Jensen, who is the supervisor over Provo's community policing program, said the investigation has impacted the amount of graffiti his department is seeing.
"It made a real dent in a lot of the graffiti going on," he said in a statement. "I've noticed a definite slow down of graffiti referrals coming through."
The first arrest came six weeks after one of the boys was caught in the act by police, officers said. Some of the boy's belongings led them to previous instances of vandalism, in addition to the other suspects.
"This send a definite message to the youngsters that we will catch them and hold them accountable not only for the graffiti they're caught doing, but also the graffiti they've done in the past," Jensen said.
Police have been photographing all instances of graffiti and entering the photographs into a database. Using the database, police charged the seven juveniles with the nearly 80 cases of graffiti.
Even so, officers say graffiti cases are down this year compared to last year. So far in 2008, only 302 cases have been reported. In all of 2007, there 1,045 cases of graffiti reported. The city has also begun using cameras in certain locations to deter and apprehend would be vandals.