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Graffiti Prevention

Graffiti Prevention

It is no secret that most large cities are a hot-spot for graffiti.  In addition to gangs using graffiti to “mark” their territory, there is also a host of “artists” who belong to an underground “street art” scene.  What these gangs and so-called “artists” don’t seem to take into consideration, however, is the cost and resources needed to clean up their graffiti.

For instance, In 2014, Los Angeles city workers cleaned up 32.4 million square feet of graffiti, or the equivalent square footage of 562 football fields.  Due to the vast and large nature of the City of Los Angeles, this comes as no surprise.  At this rate, Los Angeles City spends roughly $7 million per year of city money to clean up graffiti– money which would be better spent on other programs that benefit the citizens.

Some cities pay graffiti abatement crews to clean up the mess daily. Although necessary, these crews are often working in vain, as the freshly cleaned-up graffiti seems to return as quickly as it’s scrubbed off or painted over, functioning as a sort of budget-money-black-hole, fueled by more than 100,000 civilian complaints of graffiti sightings.

One worthy idea devised by some cities, is to “punish” caught and convicted taggers by making them clean up their own mess and repaint the structures as a form of rehabilitation.  However, this is only working, if the graffiti vandals are caught and convicted.  What about the countless taggers that whiz by under the radar, committing graffiti on a daily basis, uncaught and therefore undisciplined?  This triggers the question, what are cities doing regarding graffiti prevention?  

It is clear, it is time for the cities to approach the problem of graffiti with a new set of eyes, due to the current situation behaving not unlike a recurring nightmare with no end in sight. The repetitive nature of current means of dealing with graffiti is like a game of cat and mouse, handled on a day-to-day and case-by-case basis.  Without a preventative plan of action and a graffiti camera, this game, sadly, is certain to continue.

Deter Graffiti in the Community

Deter Graffiti in the Community

Graffiti vandalism can happen anywhere. The unsightly crime of graffiti can have serious negative effects on the community where the act takes place. When graffiti is not quickly abated, it often sends the message that “no one cares” about the community it has defaced. This type of “careless” attitude lends itself to the public’s perception of an unsafe environment, causing concern for public safety. When a community feels their environment is not safe, these negative emotions can lead to depression and anxiety, as well as further acts of crime and violence.

When residents of a community afflicted by graffiti perceive an increase of criminal activity, it can foster the assumption that crime is on the rise. This assumption contributes to feeling less secure and fearful, with the suggested result of community members avoiding street usage and less contact with one another. Less personal contact reduces community bonds and encourages individual isolation amongst members, resulting in the community being more vulnerable to crime.

Many individuals who report living in neighborhoods with vandalism and graffiti, retain high levels of mistrust, are suspicious of others, and have fear of being victimized. In this way, graffiti can have a negative impact on a community’s perception of safety and public amenity.

The financial costs associated with acts of graffiti are astonishing. Many municipalities throughout the United States employ a team of graffiti abatement personnel, with larger cities spending upward of tens of millions of dollars in taxpayer money to clean publicly defaced property. Private property owners who have experienced their property being vandalized by this criminal act are forced to cover the cost of graffiti abatement from their property. Failure to do so within a specified amount of time results in a mandatory, non-compliance fine. Residents of a community that have been victimized by graffiti sometimes harbor resentment toward local law enforcement and city officials for not acknowledging the residents as being the victim of the crime.

When the members of a community are so emotionally distressed by criminal acts such as graffiti, the lasting implications can be felt for years after the crime has taken place.  As a city official, take the initiative to deter crimes such as graffiti with a graffiti camera and help the citizens gain confidence in their community.

The High Cost of Vandalism

The High Cost of Vandalism

With a population of about 1-4 million citizens, the larger cities are the home to a diverse array of vandalism crimes. A city’s sprawling square-mileage features suburban neighborhoods, cosmopolitan-style downtown living, as well as industrial and factory-based businesses. Of all the crimes that cities experience, the only one that pervades all areas of the city is that of vandalism.

 

While the term vandalism is defined in Wikipedia as “the deliberate, malicious destruction or damage of public or private property”, the crime of vandalism can be broken down into different categories. Graffiti and defacement, window-breaking, and even arson all find themselves under the umbrella term of vandalism, with graffiti often being the most prevalent form of the crime.

 

Because of the high cost associated with an act of vandalism, many people consider vandalism to be one of the most expensive problems cities have to deal with. Los Angeles alone spends roughly $7 million annually on graffiti removal and prevention, while the overall cost of vandalism for the city’s taxpayers is much higher. These figures, however, do not include the cost of damages caused by vandalism on private property, which business and property owners must pay out of their own pocket to repair.

 

Damage caused by criminal acts, like scrap metal theft, are another prominent form of vandalism. City-owned utility properties, such as electricity distribution centers, can cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars to replace damaged and stolen equipment by a thief’s intent on making a couple of bucks.

 

With such a high cost associated with any act of vandalism, the price of such a crime is placed on the citizens of the community in which it takes place. As most of the budgets for a large city are already heavily constrained, money spent to repair damages caused by vandalism would be beneficial to other, more productive, city-run programs.

 

 

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.