Graffiti: Fines and Community Service

Graffiti: Fines and Community Service

H2>The problem of graffiti is a prolific one, plaguing many metropolitan areas throughout the world.<>/h2> The consequences of this crime also carry a heavy toll. Destruction of private or public property, caused by the defacing nature of graffiti, is the driving force behind the criminal charges associated with those convicted of the crime. These consequences carry a strict no-tolerance policy in most cities throughout the United States, because cities want to deter graffiti.


Because graffiti is such a massive, unruly problem, legislation designed to prevent its occurrence has seen stiffer fines and penalties in recent years. Mandatory minimum fines can start as high as $1,000, and is punishable by no less than six months in jail, or more, depending on the severity of the damage caused by graffiti. These fines often then go to budgets allocated for graffiti abatement in cities where budgets are constrained.


In addition to these fines, community service is also dealt to those convicted of property defacement where the individual is assigned to clean up graffiti areas. This community service acts as both a humbling experience for the perpetrator, as well as cuts down on the cost and resources used to clean up the graffiti. Through the hard work of graffiti abatement, those convicted of graffiti charges are much less likely to become repeat offenders of this crime, helping to deter further recurrences.


Because most acts of graffiti and vandalism in general, are committed in areas and at times when there is less of a chance the suspect will be caught, the apprehension of suspects by law enforcement is highly unlikely; leads are very rarely followed up on.  If the graffiti was committed on a private residence or business then the responsibility of cleanup falls solely on the property owner, the victim of this type of crime.


Using specialized anti-graffiti surveillance cameras, suspects committing this crime can be easily identified. Evidence footage captured by these cameras is then used in cases to successfully prosecute individuals charged with property defacement. These cameras also act as a graffiti deterrent when the public is well-informed of their intention and placement.


Deterrence can be accomplished with community awareness that the area is being watched and hefty fines that include community service.

lumber yard graffiti

Graffiti at Lumber Yards

There may never be a shortage of walls on which a would-be graffiti vandal might adorn with his personalized signature. And because graffiti cleanup has to be meticulously maintained to discourage other potential vandals from doing the same, that wall becomes an exercise in honing that “artist’s” style. This  frustrating cycle of graffiti vandalism continues for months, and sometimes, even years.

Of the most common places graffiti-vandals target, lumber yards are seen as the ideal place to display their “art”. After all, lumber bays exterior walls are often very long as well as tall, giving graffiti vandals an opportunity to “go all out”, so to speak. The areas these lumber yards are built in are very industrial and lack any civilian oversight in late night and early morning hours. This inability to be seen committing the crime, and thus being caught, is the number one motivating factor behind most incidences of vandalism.

When a lumber yard is targeted by graffiti vandals, it then becomes the responsibility of the owner of the yard to ensure that the graffiti is cleaned up quickly. The cost of that cleanup is also absorbed by the yard owner. Many cities throughout the U.S. go so far as to impose fines on those businesses that aren’t quick enough to take care of the issue and charge the yard owner the cities’ cost to clean the graffiti up.

Graffiti prevention is often a hard-pressed issue. More lighting on problem areas, fences or bushes to prevent access, and security patrols can often deter graffiti vandals in a more common situation, but lumber yards seem to lie right in the middle of the most industrial area of a town, often resting right next to the cities railroad tracks. The sheer size of such a property can make finding a proper solution to the problem frustrating to say the least.

Graffiti Girl

The Fight Against Blight – The Graffiti Problem

Everyone knows the graffiti problem exists.  Graffiti is seen on the walls of stores, schools, parks, and public signs.  Some people believe graffiti is a form of Art, an expression of the mind.  And although at times, the pictures can be considered to be done by a talented person, it violates the communities who are forced to endure it.  It is a blight to our community.

When a tree or plant is infected with blight, it withers away and dies.  Just like the effects of a fungus or a disease of a plant, communities become sick and infected by the blight of graffiti vandals.

Graffiti vandals steal the public places and don’t care that it offends people, costs businesses money, or brings down the homeowners property value.  According to the Los Angeles Times, the Los Angeles Office of Community Beautification spent more than seven million dollars a year on removing graffiti.  Seven Million can be used to help a lot of people.  Some would say, “leave the graffiti, it does not hurt anyone.” But the graffiti problem brings more crime.  This is one of the reasons graffiti brings down the property values, more crime. People don’t feel safe in an area with graffiti, because they know there is more crime.  Graffiti suggests less police activity or permissive police patrol.  Removing the Graffiti is important, but graffiti prevention would be better. Stopping the graffiti problem before it happens would be ideal.

Graffiti Hurts

2013 Graffiti Hurts FlashCAM Grant Winner: Eight Mile Boulevard Association(Detroit, MI)

Congratulations to Eight Mile Boulevard Association of Detroit, MI! They were the winners of the 2013 FlashCAM Grant from Graffiti Hurts.

The Eight Mile Boulevard Association (8MBA) is a nonprofit organization in Michigan, established in 1993, which focuses on revitalizing the “appearance and business climate along the Eight Mile Boulevard through education, assistance, code compliance and cooperation.” They applied for the Graffiti Hurts FlashCAM Grant this year in order to enhance their efforts to address the issues of graffiti along the Eight Mile corridor. Certain areas along the corridor have recently become a growing issue and with this grant application, their goal was to become more aggressive in their approach to stop graffiti in their community.

With their new FlashCAM-880SX system, Eight Mile Boulevard Association will be partnering with their community stakeholders and law enforcement professionals to develop a comprehensive and strategic FlashCAM program to deter taggers from returning to deface properties. This program will help engage each partner to help with the identification, remediation and prevention of graffiti along Eight Mile.

We are looking forward to hearing the success stories from Eight Mile Boulevard Association with their FlashCAM program in these coming years. As with previous FlashCAM grant recipients, this strategic approach and dedicated team to these efforts that Eight Mile Boulevard Association has developed for this FlashCAM program will help them see great results with their FlashCAM.

For more information on Eight Mile Boulevard Association, visit their website at

For more information on Graffiti Hurts or their Grants Program, please visit their website at