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Graffiti on Train

Graffiti and Community Fear

According to the broken window theory, there are many phenomena which are nearly universally agreed upon as disorderly, such as broken windows. Graffiti falls under this umbrella of universally recognized disorderly phenomena. And as a disorderly phenomenon, graffiti fosters fear among the general populace. The presence of such blatant disorder on the walls of buildings and the sides of trains communicates a lack of control, anarchy if you will. The fact that people are able to vandalize private and public property implies that there is no authority which can stop or prevent these criminals. Thus, the presence of graffiti in a community diminishes the public’s trust in their government to protect them from crime and fosters an atmosphere of unease throughout the community.

Additionally, the aesthetic condition of one’s home heavily influence’s one’s mood and self-perception. If someone lives in a town which is riddled with graffiti, they are more likely to feel depressed from the subconscious worries of being in danger and feeling like their life is chaotic. Also, if a person’s town is dirty and dominated by graffiti, they will lose self-esteem by associating their personal worth with the neglect of their community’s appearance. People who live in unkept, rundown areas will think that they deserve to be treated the same way, deplorably.

Overall, illegal graffiti will lower the quality of life in a community. It must be stopped!

However, it is impossible for public authorities to always be available to deter graffiti criminals, especially since much graffiti is done late at night or where police are less likely to be patrolling. Having crime deterrent cameras, which can constantly “patrol” building exteriors or train yards, is the most effective method for combating illegal graffiti. As soon as the criminals approach an area where they might paint on the walls, they will be startled, and behavior modification will take place.

Graffiti Attracts Crime

Graffiti Attracts Crime

Most people sense crime is higher in neighborhoods with graffiti. Neighborhoods that are run down and less kept seem to have higher crime rates and are often the targets of graffiti, but why is this? Does graffiti attract more crime or does criminal behavior attract graffiti? The truth is they go hand in hand with one another.

There is a scientific reason why graffiti and other crime are affiliated with each other, “The mere presence of graffiti doubles the number of people littering and stealing in a neighborhood, new research suggests”

Graffiti is sometimes gang-related and attracts very dangerous criminals, but it also causes others to partake in more petty crime, or “rule-breaking” activities. This may be because people assume the value of the city or neighborhood with graffiti is lower than ones without, so they think it is ok to further damage it. Or it could be that the ongoing crime makes others think it is ok and they will not receive consequences because others have not. The research gathered is inconclusive as to why exactly graffiti breeds more crime, but we know it does.

Despite not knowing exactly why graffiti inspires criminal activity, it is possible to prevent and stop it. Power tools that remove hard-stained graffiti should be used to clean up graffiti immediately before more graffiti occurs. But a more cost-efficient solution is to prevent the crime from taking place at all. Purchasing anti-graffiti cameras is a better option to prevent and stop graffiti. 

It is better for communities to never have graffiti as graffiti becomes a beacon for more crime. Crime creates more crime, and “harmless” graffiti is no exception.

What is your neighborhood doing to stop graffiti?

#stopgraffiti #nograffiti #security 

Safe Parks are Healthy for the Community

Safe Parks are Healthy for the Community

Parks are an invaluable asset to all communities.  Communities with well maintained parks are thriving communities of healthy people.  Parks increase the community’s physical activities and interaction.  Parks are also known to reduce stress even if one only sits at a park bench.

For a park to provide what the community needs there are certain aspects to take into consideration.  Several characteristics that can negatively impact a park is crime, the suggestion of crime, or the suggestion of gang activity such as graffiti.  Graffiti and vandalism not only change the esthetic look of the park, it changes the feel of a park and the park is no longer inviting.

Here are some suggestions to combat the negative behavior that impacts your park:

  • Make sure there is adequate lighting
  • Create activities and programs that involve the community
  • Have Site Managers
  • Have walking routes
  • Display Maps at entrances and walk routes
  • Have Security Measures in place, such as Graffiti Cameras and patrolling officers
  • Clean up all vandalism and graffiti immediately
  • Maintain safety measures for the park and all park equipment

The NRPA has a tool to help communities evaluate their parks.  This NRPA site provides interactive tools like custom reports on value and budgets and presents data and key insights.   It would be beneficial for your parks department to look at the tools provided and use what will enhance your agency’s performance.

Keep your Park safe for a healthy community!

#ParksAndRecreation #graffiti #novandalism #publicworks #deterrence #police

How to Solve the Graffiti Problem

How to Solve the Graffiti Problem

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