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Graffiti Abatement and Management

NCJ Number
Law and Order Volume: 54 Issue: 5 Dated: May 2006 Pages: 115-117
Lee Barnard
Date Published
May 2006
3 pages
This article discusses the goals, development, operations, and management of a graffiti removal program.
Graffiti is a vandalism offense, but for most law enforcement agencies, resources do not permit formal investigations of each graffiti incident. The more practical approach to graffiti in a community is to record it for evidence and then to remove or cover it as a signal to all members of the community that graffiti is unacceptable and will be quickly removed. The first step in starting a graffiti removal program is to acknowledge that there is a graffiti problem in the community that requires a response. The desire to address the problem must be accompanied by a monetary investment to cover equipment, vehicles, and personnel used in the graffiti program. After securing the needed funding, a focal point should be created for the program to generate local multiagency support. The primary goals must be to remove all graffiti from the community and restore neighborhoods to their pre-graffiti condition. There must be a fast response to new graffiti. The first step is to photograph it and record the date when it was created. Once the graffiti is recorded, it can them be removed either by painting, power washing, or sand blasting. Cleaning teams can be recruited from neighborhood watch groups and neighborhood councils. Businesses that sell home improvement products may donate painting supplies or other supplies that will help in removing graffiti. Efforts to prevent graffiti should include encouraging developers and architects to develop building and environmental designs that reduce opportunities for graffiti and vandalism. Graffiti programs must be ongoing and comprehensive if they are to communicate the community's message of zero tolerance for graffiti.