LSAT Logic and Graffiti in California

LSAT Blog Logic California GraffitiI don't remember how I found this photo, but once I saw it, I knew I'd have to post about it.

The Santa Ana Police Department created a "useful" graphic to help parents determine whether their children are graffiti artists, aka "taggers."

The poster claims that a child who meets only two of the criteria in the poster is probably a tagger.

(Yes, graffiti - Banksy, anyway - is something white people like.)

Looking at the criteria:

-Hood, hat, and bandana
-Fat markers
-Black book

(I'm assuming that everything listed after the dash in the photo is speculation, not fact. Otherwise, each criterion would already have the presumption of guilt, which strikes me as particularly unreasonable.)

Hood, hat, and bandana
Could be fashion statement or used while committing some other crime

Fat markers
Could be for legal art, could be for school project
(Who uses markers for test-taking, anyway?)

Black book
Could be for legal art, could be personal journal / art book. I can think of plenty of kids who draw in notebooks with no intention of ever creating graffiti. What about all those girls who used to draw ponies?

My first thought was that the presence of gloves is virtually meaningless. Then, I remembered that it's probably never cold in Santa Ana. However, maybe the gloves are a fashion statement, the kid's working as a doorman, or the kid is wearing gloves in order to get away with committing some other crime.

Could be for legal art (perhaps in previously-mentioned black book)

Most kids use backpacks in school. This criterion is meaningless.

Even if we consider the presence of graffiti on the backpack, it's possible that this kid is a victim of taggers. Or maybe this kid just wanted to decorate his/her backpack.


With a little thinking outside the box, it's pretty clear that no two criteria alone are enough to justify a heavy suspicion of tagging.

Don't be too hard on your artsy kids, parents of Santa Ana. They might not be graffiti artists after all. They might be burglars.

Photo by thomashawk / CC BY-NC 2.0


  1. Hi Steve,

    I think this is absolutely hilarious because I'm from Southern California. I have to agree with you on your observations (it's RARELY ever cold in Santa Ana, etc), but I think it's the least the Santa Ana PD can do for parents. I feel like they're describing Banksy and the other avant garde graffiti artists in Banksy's movie "Through the Gift Shop." Oh well! Just my opinion.

    Hope you're doing well!


  2. Hey Jackie,

    Glad you enjoyed it!

    I liked the Banksy movie, too. Check out this article about it:

    Hope you're well too.