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Case Study Report on Graffiti

NCJ Number
Date Published
November 2003
55 pages
This study explored the reasons for and solutions to the problems of graffiti, vandalism, and environmental nuisance on public transport.
The case studies covered a range and variety of initiatives and conflicting philosophies; however, the research revealed a number of issues of concerns for effectively tackling vandalism and graffiti. Investment to prevent and tackle graffiti and vandalism has to be long-term, sustained, and targeted. A number of examples of financial cutbacks in law enforcement and situational crime prevention measures at a time when graffiti and vandalism was thought to be reducing significantly were revealed. Such cutbacks were followed by a significant upsurge in the problems of graffiti and vandalism on transport networks. Rapid removal of graffiti is still considered to be the most effective means of preventing its growth both on the transport system and in the wider arena. However, the greater use of Internet sites for the display of photographed pieces and tags means that the perpetrators may be less concerned when the original is rapidly removed. Increasingly, recognition is gained from photographic records on the Internet; the Internet is not seen by those responsible for graffiti as a substitute “canvas” for their activities, but informs and complements their activities on public transport and the street. Early intervention diverts young people from further involvement in graffiti and vandalism, and educates youth that the acts of graffiti or vandalism are unacceptable. There is a need to channel young people’s talents positively by providing activities and sites where they can create murals or pieces safely and legally. Legislation that restricts the open sale of spray can paints is identified as a priority and seen as the only effective solution; extending police power to stop and search for spray can paints was also identified as a possible deterrent strategy in the United Kingdom and continental Europe. 1 table