Graffiti Prevention Improves the Quality of Life for Communities and Residents

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Graffiti is a sign of decay and makes people feel that their neighborhood is being lost to gangs and crime. If allowed to remain, it sends the message that the community is unconcerned about its appearance. In spite of its colorful qualities, graffiti is not art. Graffiti is a crime that costs communities more than $8 billion a year to clean up. Although graffiti vandals come from varied social, ethnic, and economic backgrounds, graffiti is very much a youth-related problem, with about half of all acts committed by suburban males from preteens to early twenties.

Graffiti hurts communities. It drains tax dollars and private funds and sends a message that nobody cares about the area in which it appears. This becomes an open invitation for loitering, littering, more graffiti, and crime. It hurts property values and frightens away businesses. The best way to prevent graffiti is to remove it as fast as possible, preferably within the first 24 hours.

Aggressively prosecuting graffiti vandals is important, as is educating youth and adults about the impact of graffiti vandalism on neighborhoods. And because graffiti vandals often steal the tools they use in their crimes, a program to reduce retail theft is advisable.

Graffiti Prevention Tips - To step up graffiti prevention efforts:

  • Keep up the neighborhood. Keep the appearance of a neighborhood clean and neat. Remove litter and trash, fix broken fences, trim landscape, and ensure all lighting is working properly.
  • Remove graffiti promptly. Rapid removal of graffiti is an effective prevention tool. Data shows that removal within 24 to 48 hours results in a nearly zero rate of recurrence.
  • Encourage citizen reporting. Educate the public about the impact of graffiti vandalism and provide a way to report graffiti.
  • Enforce anti-graffiti laws. Enforce existing anti-graffiti laws. Law enforcement dedicated to tracking and apprehending graffiti vandals is a strong deterrent.
  • Educate youth. Incorporate graffiti education and prevention into classroom activities.