High Cost of Graffiti

High Cost of Graffiti

Most major metropolitan cities in the U.S. are constantly dealing with the problem of graffiti. The issue of graffiti could possibly promote a false perception that the laws protecting public and private property can be blatantly disregarded, resulting in an increase in crime, urban decay, and detriment to the enjoyment of life. These acts of graffiti, if not cleaned, repaired or deterred in a timely manner, can also give way to additional unwanted markings in the surrounding area.

 

Instances of graffiti are most often the result of various gangs posting the physical limits of their “turf”. These publicly displayed messages also serve as a type of warning to other rival gangs to stay out of their neighborhood.  These messages usually incur further graffiti from the would-be rivals. Other acts of graffiti are of the so-called underground “street art” scene, whose canvasses blanket public and private property with various designs or murals intended to be seen by the public. Both types of graffiti, however, involve the same level of criminal charges and consequences, despite their dissimilar intent.

 

Each year, cities are faced with this crime challenge, and it costs cities unspeakable amounts.  Take for instance the city of San Francisco, which spends more than $20 million to clean up graffiti found on public property. In 2017 alone, the San Francisco Public Works department responded to approximately 35,398 service requests involving instances of graffiti, and that number is expected to climb by the end of 2018.

 

Because the crime of graffiti is such a large problem, San Francisco city-council members recently passed an anti-graffiti ordinance requiring property owners to clean up graffiti on their property within thirty days. If this time frame isn’t met, those property owners face stiff fines for violating the statutes outlined in the ordinance, further adding to the overall cost incurred by graffiti abatement.

 

Graffiti costs cities and property owners high amounts of both dollars and resources, which could be used to help the community instead.

Illegal Dumping Breeds Rats

Illegal Dumping Breeds Rats

The unlawfully disposed piles of solid waste that constitute illegal dump sites create many problems for the community in which this crime takes place. Environmental hazards and lowered property values are just the tip of the iceberg when the illegal dumping problem is not closely controlled. In addition to these issues, public health hazards associated with illegal dumping are also a prominent threat in many communities.

 

The growing problem of illegal dumping is due to the fact that if an illegal dump site is not quickly cleaned, the likelihood of further recurrences of the crime climbs exponentially. The “snowballing” effect that these dump sites produce invites a multitude of vermin and dangerous bacteria to potentially infect citizens living nearby with various diseases and ailments, and the results can prove deadly.

 

It is no myth that discarded trash begets rats, raccoons and other pests, resulting in an ideal breeding ground within illegal dump sites. Many of these types of scavenger rodents bring with them various diseases, diseases which, if not properly treated, can result in serious illness. Rats, for example, have been famous for centuries for helping spread the Bubonic Plague in the mid-14th century. The “Black Death”, as it was known, wiped out roughly 60 per cent of Europe’s total population, with an estimated 75 to 200 million deaths as a result of the disease.

 

Rat urine is also responsible for the spread of Leptospirosis, a disease which often results in kidney and liver damage. Hantavirus, a debilitating bronchial disease, is spread via air particles from infected rat feces and urine and is currently one of the most commonly transmitted rat-borne diseases.

 

In an effort to try to eradicate rat-borne disease, it is important to stop the problem before it starts. Illegal dump sites are havens for breeding rats and the health threats they bring with them. Preventing illegal dumping is an effective means by which we also prevent these terrible diseases from afflicting the people of our communities.

Social Media: Weapon to Combat Vandalism

Social Media: Weapon to Combat Vandalism

How can Social Media help combat Vandalism?  This is a good question. According to Wikipedia, Social Media is defined as “interactive computer-mediated technologies that facilitate the creation and sharing of information, ideas…”

Unfortunately, the crime of vandalism is an all too common occurrence. It seems to happen everywhere including our schools, public parks, and in our own communities. When vandalism is committed, it is most often done late at night when there is less likelihood that the suspect, or suspects, will be seen or caught. Because little, if any, evidence is left behind, suspect leads are rarely ever followed up and communities are left holding the bill for the damages caused by vandalism.

Vandalism is a crime that’s cumulative. If an area that has been hit by vandalism is not quickly repaired or cleaned, further recurrences of vandalism are more likely to befall the same area. The only means of stopping vandalism completely, is by preventing its occurrence in the first place.

Today, many municipalities are turning to technology and the use of social media sites, such as Next-Door and Facebook, to educate the rest of the public when acts of vandalism occur. Pictures of recently vandalized neighborhoods are posted on social media sites in an effort to gather information from the public. Local law enforcement authorities use these photos as well as the information provided by the public as evidence, while vigilantly seeking out and successfully prosecuting those individuals suspected of committing acts of vandalism.

Photos of suspects taken by specialized vandalism cameras are used in conjunction with social media to identify suspects and to capture footage of the act to be used as evidence in prosecution cases brought before the court. This use of technology also fills the gap as a preventative measure when the public is informed by social media sites that vandalism cameras are being used.

This coordination of technology and social media is quickly becoming the first line of defense in combating vandalism, as it helps protect our communities as well as our individual well-being.

Social Media is effective because information of the vandalism occurrence and the pictures of the suspect are shared with the community very quickly.  Because the citizens care about their community, information is then shared quickly with the authorities who follow through with prosecution.

Social Media in use with specialized vandalism cameras is a great weapon to combat vandalism in your community.

How to Deter Vandalism in Park Restrooms

How to Deter Vandalism in Park Restrooms

Vandalism in Park Restrooms is a prevalent problem. Unfortunately, public restrooms are often the focus of many vandals, who are intent on committing defacement.  Restrooms become the target because they are usually placed away from public traffic and isolated.  Due largely in part to the low risk of being caught, graffiti on the walls and damage to toilets and the restroom facility hardware are among the objects most commonly affected.

 

Due to safety reasons, many parks close vandalized restrooms in order to avoid injury and facilitate repairs. Park Rangers know closed restrooms can cause a feeling of frustration by park patrons who may need to use the restroom area. The best option is deterrence.  Stop the Vandalism before it happens.

 

Here are some deterrent highlights to implement:

 

  1. Lighting– Secure the area with bright lights. Bright lights are a vandal’s worst enemy. Lighting installed in areas that may otherwise be dark does well to help prevent acts of vandalism from occurring.
  2. Unbreakable Fixtures and Hardware– Apply security glass over light fixtures and hard to break accessories in the restroom.
  3. Locks and Fencing- Install locks and fencing. Well strategized locks and fencing eliminates a vandal’s ability to enter the restroom after the park has closed.
  4. Vandalism Deterrent Cameras– Properly placed Vandalism Deterrent Cameras near problem areas combined with signs informing the public of their use has been proven to prevent acts of vandalism. Vandalism Deterrent Cameras- Talk, shine a bright light, take pictures for prosecution and make their presence known. Behavior modification at its best.

 

Applying these steps will protect public bathrooms and save frustrations and funds from ongoing repairs.