It's not just here. It's happening not only in LA, NYC, Portland, and other big cities. Now it's Albuquerque and small towns in Indiana, too.
"A bumper crop of scrawls is blossoming in many modest-size communities across the country —"
They don't understand that graffiti has entered the culture. It's now in the bloodstream of the mainstream, and an accepted form of artistic expression. Instead, they're blaming pop culture for accepting it.
"Neighborhood leaders and law enforcement officials also blamed what they describe as a glamorization of graffiti, reflected by a new graffiti exhibit that opened at the Sunset Marquis Hotel in West Hollywood last weekend, even after an earlier furor over a full-fledged graffiti exhibit at the downtown LA Museum of Contemporary Art. “It’s because of the pop culture,” said Ramona Findley, a Los Angeles police detective who heads the department’s graffiti task force. “It’s very interesting; with your violent crime going down, it seems like your mischievous crime is going up. The art world has accepted it. People make money from graffiti T-shirts. I was in Wal-Mart on Easter, and I saw graffiti Easter eggs.” " -- NYT
It's not the same crews expanding operations.
"“The areas where we’ve seen the biggest increase are areas where we haven’t had a problem before,” said Mr. Racs of the Los Angeles beautification office. “It’s not gangs. It’s primarily just taggers. They are just cruising around on their skateboards.” -- NYT
With teenage unemployment at Great Depression levels (20%), increasing depersonalization, no art in the schools, the grotesque commercialization of public spaces, and more, is it any wonder the kids are seeing the wallspace as canvas? Culture is the problem, just not the one they have their sights on.