Jennifer Muñoz has been with the Santa Fe Police Department for 71/2 years. In November, the lifelong Santa Fean left her position as administrative secretary for detective investigations for a newly created one: SFPD anti-graffiti coordinator. The position was recently moved from the Parks Department to the police department to facilitate better “coordination between police and graffiti removal,” according to City Councilor Carmichael Dominguez. As anti-graffiti coordinator, Muñoz oversees calls from the graffiti hotline and organizes a graffiti removal crew in the Parks Department. SFR contacted several local graffiti artists, who supplied the following questions for Muñoz.
SFR: What’s your definition of graffiti?
JM: Defacement of public or private property�someone doing anything from gang signs to markings to what some consider graffiti art without permission.
How many sites does the crew visit to remove graffiti in one day?
We had 31 calls come in last month, about a call a day. That’s not including proactive graffiti removal, like, if the graffiti removal crew sees graffiti on a stop sign, they’d clean it up.
Do you feel as though you’re keeping Santa Fe beautiful?
I’m trying. It’s still a new position. I’m trying to dig my heels in and get a handle on the graffiti problem and keep Santa Fe beautiful.
Since the position was moved to the Police Department, has there been an increase or decrease in graffiti/vandalism?
I wouldn’t know yet since the position is new. As far as statistics, we started keeping them Jan. 1, so I don’t have anything to compare it to yet.
Do you see any value or beauty in graffiti?
Personally, I don’t think so�even people who believe the graffiti they do is art�unless it’s with permission and in a place that’s not an eyesore for the public. For me, graffiti is something to clean up.
What gives you the biggest headache when it comes to graffiti?
My biggest headache is usually gang tags. There are gang tag wars when someone goes and writes their gang tag on a wall, then another group goes and writes over that with their gang tag�especially when they use foul language and do it in areas where younger children can view it.
Do you think quality of life coincides with the quantity of graffiti?
The broken window theory comes to mind, where a broken window leads to more broken windows, leads to graffiti, leads to crime. If it’s not taken care of, it most definitely could put a damper on the quality of life.
So removing graffiti stops it from happening as frequently.
That’s the idea. Usually it can but, if someone’s determined to tag, whether they’re doing art or gang graffiti, I don’t think it’s going to stop it. But the sooner you take it down, the less likely they are to go back to the same spot.
Has there been any graffiti/public art you’ve regretted removing, or any that has been inspiring?
There’s nothing that I’ve seen recently that I’ve regretted taking down. The majority of it is gang stuff that we’d like to eliminate.
What kind of art do you like?
My kids’ art. Photography is something I consider art that I like a lot. It brings in something real and captures the moment in a picture.