Although they are not completely sure, local officials said it is unlikely gangs had anything to do with a number of recent incidents in which hate-filled graffiti targeted African Americans, Latinos, Asians, whites, homosexuals and Jewish people.
“We counted 22 incidents of graffiti on personal property between the 400 and 700 blocks of Washington Boulevard. We have video that appears to show an individual committing some of the acts,” said Pasadena Police Chief Philip Sanchez. “We are going to try and have that enhanced so we can see if we can make an identification.” However, Sanchez said, “We have not determined that it is gang-related.”
The graffiti, which contained swastikas and racial slurs scrawled on cars, mailboxes and buildings, sparked concerns of renewed conflicts between two local gangs, the Pasadena Denver Lanes, which is mostly African American, and the Villa Boyz, a Latino gang.
On Saturday, about 100 people attended a meeting at the Rose Bowl’s business offices to discuss the incident with the chief, Mayor Bill Bogaard, NAACP Pasadena Branch President Joe Brown and Randy Ertll, executive director of El Centro Accion de Social.
“It has alarmed us,” Brown said of the graffiti. “Our assumption is it is the work of an African American and a Latino. We do not think it is gang-related. It has not increased tensions in the area, but this is not just a Northwest Pasadena problem. It is a citywide Pasadena problem that the entire community needs to be aware of.”
Brown said that the NAACP expects organizations like the Vision 20/20 Coalition, which was started by Pasadena City Councilwoman Jacque Robinson after gang violence claimed the lives of 10 people in 2007, to get involved.
“From the reports I have read, none of this is gang-related,” Robinson told the Weekly. “It’s a shame this is happening at the end of a violence-free summer.”