As the frequency of graffiti tagging continues to rise, so too do the costs for cleaning it up. In a creative attempt to force the graffiti taggers to shoulder a greater percentage of the financial burden, both to cover real abatement costs and to discourage future graffiti tagging, in San Francisco, the City Attorney is filed a civil law suit against a graffiti taggers to cover the costs of cleaning up her graffiti tags. The complaint lists 58 tags and assigns the remediation cost at $53,788 or $927.38 per graffiti tag.
In this case, most of the property owners will be city or transit agencies.
City graffiti abatement staff photograph graffiti tags prior to removing them using the city's 311 app so that a database of graffiti tags can be accumulated.
Montreal, Canada: After waiting over two years, the anti-Semitic swastika has finally been removed from a Ile-Perrot community mailbox. The swastika graffiti was originally reported to the Canada Post. The Canada Post directed residents to the city. The city directed residents back to Canada Post. Finally, after two years of finger pointing, a graffiti abatement company was contacted who was able to remove the offensive graffiti in approximately 2 minutes.
Brookfield, Connecticut: What was once a tribute to the victims of the Sandy Hook School Massacre was painted over with a grey paint. The tribute mural had been up since December 2012. It is unclear why the bridge was painted out, but the assumption is that the rail company that is responsible for the bridge did so as part of their routine maintenance.
Not all graffiti should be treated equal.
Chicago, Illinois: Outside of Chicago, Highland Police are searching for a suspect in his late teens for multiple graffiti attacks at the local high school and public park.
Surveillance footage is helping to identify the suspect. The graffiti celebrated serial killer Ted Bundy.
The school custodian was able to quickly remove the graffiti. This rapid response denied the opportunity to anyone to see the graffiti and is considered a best practice in graffiti abatement.
Los Angeles, California: With municipal budgets already strained, the City of Los Angeles spends millions of tax-payer dollars every year to clean up graffiti.
The specific numbers are hard to pin down, but over 30,000 graffiti reports are received by the LA Office of Community Beautification per month.
LA County reportedly spent $30 million dollars abating graffiti in 2007.
New Orleans, Louisiana. The Grand Movie Theater has sat vacant for 10 years and its expansive walls have proved an irresistible and frequent target of graffiti attack.
Then Muralist Brandan Odums and other local artists decided to change the blight and negativity into a symbol of peace with an extensive mural. Odums has successfully created graffiti-styled murals on several other vacant buildings in New Orleans.
After four days of priming to cover the graffiti tags and prep the wall for the mural, the thanks from the local graffiti taggers was a fresh round of graffiti tags.
Two steps forward, one step back.
The hope is to have the Peace Wall completed in time for the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.
Salt Lake City, Utah: Felony and misdeameanor charges have been filed against five graffiti taggers in Salt Lake City, aged 20 to 23. These taggers have cost the city thousands of dollars in graffiti abatement costs. Some large scale roof graffiti cost and graffiti on historic buildings exceeded $25k.
A determined effort by the police department and gang unit lead to the arrest of the taggers. Many others are being pursued. In the meantime, the arrests and charges should make taggers think twice before tagging again.
In Ogden, Utah, a partnership between the city and local art college is converting a blighted underpass which has been a frequent target for graffiti attack into an extensive mural and public artwork.
This effort is making the underpass "feel" safer for pedestrians and joggers and eliminates a source of blight and frustration. The murals may not eliminate the graffiti, but should significantly decrease the frequency. Excellent anti-graffiti coatings can be applied to help protect the mural and allow easy graffiti removal when a tagger decides to tag over the mural.
Graffiti Taggers Beware. The Fredericksburg Police Department is fed up with the significant increase in graffiti tagging in the community and has issues a $500 Reward for tips that lead to the arrest of a graffiti tagger. In 2014, there were 16 graffiti tags reported. In 2015, there have already been 55 reported cases of graffiti.
The reward give the taggers pause before they go out tagging in the future, but the recent arrest of a local graffiti tagger will have much more impact to deter them from creating more graffiti. This multi-pronged response to eliminate and reduce graffiti is a best practice and should lead to a reduction in the frequency of graffiti tagging.
Chris Campagna is a Chicago resident of Historic Pullman neighborhood. He is also and artist, a father, a advocate for his community, and very creative. When his garage door was spray painted with graffiti, he decided to turn it into a giant chalkboard for his kids and other kids in the neighborhood to draw on any time.
From Clean City Innovation Graffiti Watch