Artist Judy Baca's refurbished “History of Highland Park” mural has been restored after it was horribly tagged amid what the Los Angeles Police Department believes is an uptick in gang-related tagging.
The 36-year-old mural, located on Avenue 56 and Meridian, in the heart of turf claimed by the notorious Avenues gang, was restored Tuesday, according to local activist, nearly two years after it was refurbished following a decade of neglect.
At least three Northeast L.A. neighborhoods, including Highland Park, have noted an increase in tagging lately, and the LAPD is working with the City Attorney’s office to “aggressively prosecute” offenders, Northeast Division Capt. Jeff Bert told Highland Park-Mount Washington Patch.
Several gang members have been recently arrested in connection with tagging incidents, and the Baca mural is believed to be the work of gang taggers, Bert said.
Asked why tagging might be on the rise currently, Bert said that while theories abound, the bottom line remains that gang-related tagging is meant to “send a message, strike fear, and lay claim to rival territory.”
All three elements “are at work in Highland Park,” he said, adding that whoever’s behind the tagging of the Baca mural is “trying to strike fear in the hearts of a rival gang, that is, the Avenues.”
Bert likened gang tagging to dogs urinating on a fire hydrant. “Every dog thinks it’s his hydrant,” the captain said. “And another dog comes along and pees there.”
First painted in 1977 by Baca and fellow Angeleno artists Joe Bravo, Sonya Fe and Arnold Ramirez, the History of Highland Park mural fell into disrepair for about a decade until it was restored in 2011. Its anti-graffiti coating had deteriorated and taggers transformed the work of art into an eyesore.