Fresno, California - Leaders with Valley Crime Stoppers say wanted criminals with face tattoos are becoming more common. Tattoo artists say in jail face tattoos are often designed to intimidate others, but outside the jail the face tattoos can make it difficult to operate in society and are often associated with crime.
For most people getting a tattoo is a big decision because of the lasting message it sends, especially if that tattoo is on your face.
"A lot of face tattoos are a sign of intimidation. people walk in and you are almost intimidated by their face tattoos. It's almost as they don't care, said Augustin Rubio, owner of Most Wanted Tattoo and Body Piercings.
Recently face tattoos have become popular among crime suspects in the Valley Crime Stoppers President Dale Mendoza says these tattoos are easily recognized and generate hundreds of tip calls leading to arrests.
"we're actually seeing it a little more with these younger people. They are starting to put tattoos on and the older guys who have tattoos wish they didn't have them now," said Mendoza.
At Most Wanted Tattoo in Fresno Rubio refuses to help clients cover their faces with tattoos like so many others already behind bars.
Leah Garcia made the decision to tattoo her face
"It's not something that's easy to live with. I get judged on a daily basis," said Garcia.
She's made peace with her decision, but is discouraged to see how many people who also have face tattoos are in trouble with the law.
"It makes me feel bad because it kind of makes everyone else look bad that has tattoos. Not everybody who has face tattoos are a bad person. You know?," said Garcia.
Most licensed tattoo parlors refuse to do any tattoos above the neck and will not tattoo anything with gang ties, but I'm told the face tattoo trend will only get more frequent because requests are being made by teenage customers on a regular basis.