Graffiti is a community problem affecting people from all walks of life. Nuisance crimes are a problem for all cities varying in the crimes and magnitude. Unfortunately, graffiti causes residential and business property values to be less, invites more crime, and increases urban decay. So, what is a community to do?
The United States Department of Justice printed a pdf defining Community Policing. In the pdf, problem solving is:
- Scanning: Identifying and prioritizing problems
- Analysis: Researching what is known about the problem
- Response: Developing solutions to bring about lasting reductions in the number and extent of problems
- Assessment: Evaluating the success of the responses
- Using the crime triangle to focus on immediate conditions (victim/offender/location)
Once the community has identified the area or “hot spot” of graffiti, a solution to stop or deter the graffiti is the next step. Perpetrators are dangerous so this can be tricky. How can the community get involved but not be put at risk to gang members or violent individuals? The best way to approach this problem is to report the area to the neighborhood enforcement agency. Community policing requires a partnership for example between the community, public works and the police. Some communities even have volunteers for this type of crime and the support of non-profit organizations or private business. The key is the partnership. The law enforcement agencies are much more effective in a city where they have the help and partnership from the community.
Preventative measures should include:
- Bright lights, which shine in the shadows
- Legislation with high penalties
- Community service for perpetrators
- Using social media to ask the community for help
- Using social media to spread the word and advertise the penalties
- Using anti-graffiti cameras to stop and deter