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Graffiti Artists in Tempe to be Identified by Their Work With New Computer Program

You're a graffiti artist who takes pride in his work -- your stuff is really unique.

And that's why Tempe police are going to catch you. (Or so cops think, anyway).

Police in the college town plan to launch new computer software that is slated to help officers in the field identify the "signature" work of taggers and analyze patterns of graffiti. It doesn't seem likely that authorities will be able to get a conviction strictly because of a computer match, but the system will give cops extra evidence for the prosecution.

The name of the program's a bit of a stretch as far as acronyms go. Tempe police call it the Graffiti Offenders Tagging Contacts & High Activity Program, or GOTCHA. So where's the "p"? Running down your leg when the cops nab you, naughty tagger.

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.