The crime of graffiti is an ever-growing problem in every major city in the United States. You can easily spot this public eye-sore lining the once blank walls of businesses, in our alley-ways, on trash cans, and even mailboxes. More often than not, the most common form of graffiti is placed in areas meant to designate a specific gang’s territory, acting both as a sort of physical marker and as a warning to other neighboring gangs to stay out. This type of graffiti is most often found in the more metropolitan areas, or areas of a city that’s been prey to urban decay.
Another common form of graffiti is that of a “street artist”. These so-called artist’s don’t have any gang affiliation and often spray-paint large murals depicting some sort of ethnic or urban scene in public areas or on private property. While many of these “street artists” can display some artistic credibility, their choice of canvas is just as illegal as those of gang graffiti artists.
Of the many problems that the crime of graffiti can cause, the cost and resources of graffiti abatement can quickly add up. In 2014, the city of Los Angeles, California paid $7 million to clean up roughly 32.4 million square feet of graffiti-adorned public areas. This money had to be culled from other budgets that may have benefitted other public programs run by the city. Once these instances of graffiti are removed, they quickly reappear moments later.
Because recurrences of graffiti happen so often, the problem is met best with a means of quick abatement and followed by measures designed to prevent its repetitive qualities. While the crime of graffiti happens most often at night and when the possibility of being seen is low, ideally-placed anti-graffiti cameras are an excellent substitute when civilian or security personnel oversight can’t be accomplished or afforded. In addition to these graffiti cameras, utilizing social media sites, such as Facebook, to help identify suspects and educate the public on the consequences of graffiti are steps in the right direction to help stifle the occurrence and recurrence of the crime of graffiti.