What these Echo Park car owners want for Christmas is graffiti remover

Photo by D.R. Harris

Everything in Echo Park gets tagged – walls, palm trees, buses. But cars, for some reason, rarely get spray painted. There is always an exception, however, as the owners of at least seven vehicles parked on an Echo Park street discovered on Christmas morning. A resident described what happened:

The residents of Belmont Ave between Clinton and Bellevue awoke to a very special Christmas present. Some early riser had taken it upon themselves to tag more than 7 CARS with the “MS 13” tag of the  infamous Mara Salvatrucha gang. This is about a week after the Big Top Locos vigorously marked their territory with VBTLS ONLY tags and arrows on the more traditional walls, curbs, and street signs. Rampart anti-gang was investigating the car tagging.


  1. In past years I have seen hair spray used to remove graffiti from vehicles.
    Try it before paying someone a lot of money to have it removed.

  2. I’d try dabbing a bit of mineral spirits on a rag and seeing if that works; acetone will take it off as well, but it’ll probably damage the car’s paint. I wish homeowners and apartment owners in the area could set up more surveillance cameras so we could begin to catch these guys and hold them accountable.

  3. I recommend rubbing compound for removing the paint, followed by some wax.

  4. Not only are they f-ing losers to begin with, they can’t even do a proper tag. It looks like they started the tag in f-ing CURSIVE! They should hang themselves, already!

  5. these were obviously done by youngsters…playing a very dangerous game

  6. People Who Live In Echo Park Remember U Are Right next Too Westlake. Where The wildkingdom Is.

  7. Gang graffiti and gunfire in Echo Park is music to the ears of multi-million dollar DownTownLA loft landlords and leasing agents.

  8. That is just Awful!
    How to remove spray paint graffiti from your car Video :

    • @Jetsy83 — That’s a great suggestion. It’s much less bad for your paint than what I used (Comet and Bon Ami, Golden Fleece scrubbers, and a lot of elbow grease). Then again, my car is so old that a few scour marks on the paint are no big deal.

  9. Get some paint remover ( I like Jasco) and generously dab it all over the problem spot. Take a little break, walk down to the Los Burritos and get a machaca burrito and some red drink. Come back to you project and simply wipe off the problem.

  10. That is horrible! I wonder if the MS13 set out to tag cars of known BTL members or if they did it at random…

  11. About the only solace is that the life of a gangbanger (or wanna be) generally doesn’t end that well.

    • so I guess the owner of that white car should go find an MS13 member and shoot them now. that’s how it works right?

      • just trying to understand their “logic”. but lets face it, it’s not too much of a stretch to imagine that shots will be fired somewhere over this latest tagging scuffle. idiots.

  12. People will always dumb stuff. I got my suv vandelized on my own block,not as bad as this put senseless things. Oh and the writhing was probably done in a hurry.

  13. Please don’t put paint remover on your car as it will destroy the paint. Simple carnuba wax or any cleaner wax for cars with some elbow grease will do the trick!!!!

    Would cameras help to alleviate some of this senseless bull-s?

    Why do people have such an adverse response to an area getting cleaner and less crime ridden? Gentrification is not a dirty word. Who wants to live among graffiti, trash, old furniture left-for-dead and homes in dis-repair?

  14. gangsters are stupid. But since the gentrification train is already rolling it wont be too long until they can’t afford to live here anymore and can move farther away from here.

    • gangs have prevailed these areas far before this blog or it’s contributors ever CHOSE to live in these areas. the crime and violence associated with this, though negative, is native to the area and not uncommon if you choose to know about its history . gentrification “cleans” an area, but, it also does not address the prevalent social issues. it’s easier to demonize a problem instead of understanding it or providing solution. humanize not demonize people, step outside yourself and you might begin to see more perspectives; give respect, get respect comes to mind. it’s hard to see how organic farmer markets and overpriced burned coffee will ever address, identify, or solve social issues. i empathize with the owners of the cars that were vandalized. wondering if there were a sense of active community would there have been a blog post to begin with? don’t forget to lock your prius at night.

      • Mystery Train — You spouted off a lot of platitudes but neglected to mention one single concrete action that people can take (or that you have taken) to reduce crime in the neighborhood. What else is there to understand about gangs and graffiti that we don’t understand? Trust me, plenty of folks who live in Northeast L.A. and read this blog understand gangs; in our ranks are inner-city schoolteachers, social workers, public-interest attorneys, former Peace Corps volunteers, and lots of other decent folks (some of whom drive Priuses and shop at organic farmer’s markets). You decry the lack of “active community” but it seems to me that this blog gives voice to a community of caring individuals who are searching for answers.

        • Well said, James.

          And Mystery Train, BEFORE there were gangs in Echo Park, there were artists, silent filmmakers, leftists, and decent people of all colors, and before that, early Western settlers, and before that indigenous people and wooly mammoths and sabre-tooth cats. We live in the present. To suggest that criminality is “native” to these parts is absolutely ridiculous.

      • I’m pretty sure those people’s cars were locked but it didn’t stop the tagging from happening – and the photo of that white car didn’t look like a prius, dearheart.

        This city’s neighborhoods change over every couple of decades. Boyle Heights was a Jewish neighborhood, Solano Canyon was Costarican, then Italian now it’s even more multi-cultural, McArthur Park was an upper-class neighborhood and white as powder. Regardless of what color we are, what car we drive or how much we have in our bank account our sense of community empathy trancends it. I didn’t just land in Echo Park, I’ve been walking these streets since I was kid and I know this neighorhood but I’m not going to show respect to a gangster who willfully intends to harm people and property. They don’t deserve my respect.

        Active in the community? As James said there are a good lot of us who are active in our communities. Not just on a blog, but in the trenches, day-to-day.

  15. Just a thought but the Eastsider has usually been good about stopping “Trolls” and allowing threads to degenetrate. I wonder why they have allowed “Anitta’ to troll so freely? Eastsider please keep out the trolls. Many thanks (a loyal reader).

  16. I’d love to see Mystery Train try that humanize stuff with the guys with the huge T-shirts and neck and head tattoos. I’m sure it will be very effective.
    Also, you can solve the social problems that are deep at the root of why they are who they are and how they have come to be that. Instead of just clean off your car. You preach like you have the answers, Mystery Train, but you sound a bit foolish, no offense. All of us who read this blog live in the neighborhood and a lot of us are mixed in in some very natural way with its actual history. It’s a fantasy to think the neighborhood has only two sides, old school and white yuppy. It has never been like that. Also, the farmers market, if you go, is actually a mixed demographic. there are tons of spanish speaking shoppers there. and it takes WIC, meaning it’s a socio-economic mix of people, and moreover, it is a way to know people in echo park, instead of drive to costco or whatever it is you do. Knowing your neighbors, respecting difference, offering yourself as a model of how things might be, helping kids who might need it outside their family, those are positive things. If one chooses to do them. Criticizing people in advance of knowing them helps nothing.

  17. If we can find Saddam Hussein in a spider hole on the other side of the world and can’t find a Little Bo Peep spray painter, vandalizing cars, it goes to show that society needs the gang-banger to justify the police budget. Think about it, we can find Kadaffi and not the gangsters that live across the street drug dealing.

  18. The police know who these criminals are. Their identity should be made public.

  19. A couple of small things we can all do to beautify our city:

    Report graffiti via the city’s Anti-Graffiti Request System:

    Report potholes via the city’s Street Services Service Request form:

  20. Dear Gang-banger,

    We are not afraid of you nor your spray-painted fingertips nor your poor ability to communicate. The feeling is pity; because you lash out like a frightened child or a wounded animal in the wild. We go about our lives and occasionally have to clean up after our dissidents! A part of life that we will tolerate while we must and watch as life passes you by.

  21. Just found out the car in the photo belongs to a friend of mine. Just moved to Echo Park over the holidays. Welcome!

  22. This is so sad for the property owners.

    Unfortunately, I think these kids are “un-fixable”. They will die or be jailed for life at my/our (taxpayers’) expense. Just rest assured… being part of that gang means better treatment in the prison system than on the streets. We can all sleep easy at night, knowing we made the humanitarian choice to get these idiots locked up.

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