Satellites can pinpoint the location of graffiti taggers fast enough to catch them in the act. TaggerTrap is being tested in several California cities and uses cell phones and special sensors that recognize the ultrasonic hiss of spray cans. “The tagger, when he pushes down on that spray can, he’s calling police,” says George Lerg, of TrapTec. Then GPS finds the tagger’s location and the cops pick him up.

When TaggerTrap was tested in Chula Vista, police arrived in time to nab a six-person graffiti crew in the act. “Just from the test I have seen and word from Chula Vista it has worked wonderfully,” says Judy Ronnebeck of the Escondido Police. “Our city spent over $150,000 last year cleaning graffiti. The more money it costs to clean it up, the more people realize we have to make these taggers responsible for their actions.”

Homeland Security is interested too. “The government is extremely concerned about biotoxins inside aerosol cans that can be put into air-conditioning ducts of a subway system or a large building,” says Lerg. “If somebody is using an aerosol can where they shouldn’t be, we can notify authorities.”

We all hate graffiti, but there are some signs we want to read!

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