Cities and parks across the country practice the “rapid removal” method to address their graffiti issues. It is definitely important to quickly remove graffiti as soon as it happens in order to maintain control over the issue and prevent more graffiti from taking place. But is this battle between the taggers and the city’s graffiti removal efforts simply a “band-aid” that is covering up the issue instead of really addressing the problem to stop graffiti?
The Center for Problem-Oriented Policing site on “Response to the Problem of Graffiti” emphasizes the importance of removing graffiti rapidly as the most promising responses to tackle graffiti. This sends a message to the tagger that their “artwork” won’t last long, and many times “help on many arrests by reporting kids watching the clean-up,” since surprisingly these kids are often times the taggers!
But even with this recommended approach, the POP guide indicates that “many of the methods are time consuming and can be quite expensive.” These efforts may help to revive the park, but it’s not guaranteed that these issues won’t come back. Taking a proactive prevention approach may seem like a challenge at first, but in the long run it can cause less headaches to really stop the problem from coming back.