Witnessing an act of vandalism can trigger anger in even the most gentle citizens, and it can leave a lasting effect. Why? Because, vandalism suggests gang activity in the area, makes people feel victimized, and causes economic hardships for the community.
According to the Los Angeles Police Department, the purpose of gang graffiti is to glorify the gang. And in the same article, the police state violence is associated with gang graffiti, because an entire neighborhood will be associated with the gang graffiti, making them a target for rival gangs. Vandalism in the form of graffiti is used by gangs and can spread rapidly in gang-controlled areas. These areas become something similar to a public message board displayed in high-traffic areas. And the problem grows rapidly out of control if not corrected quickly.
Graffiti vandalism can also make people feel unsafe. In a survey conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics 1 in 5 Australians perceive graffiti to be a social disorder problem in their local community. The idea that destruction of property and graffiti are social disorders leads the minds of citizens to think incivility within a community. This raises concerns that there will be an occurrence of a more serious crime, and that the area is not safe. If the community withdraws in fear, social controls which can keep vandals at bay are weakened.
The obvious financial cost associated with clean up also takes a toll on the community. According to the Center for Problem-Oriented Policing (POP Center), it is estimated that the cost to clean up graffiti in the United States is $12 billion a year. Tax funds are used to pay for damage repair caused by vandals on city owned property. A community can suffer neglect if these tax funds are not used for their intended purpose. Schools, parks, and public transportation all suffer when an act of destruction is committed on city property. The list goes on and on.
Actions to stop the destruction of property, curtailing the gang activity, taking control and protecting our communities, must be taken before serious crimes take over the city. We have a responsibility to stop the broken windows and graffiti in our community. Be a part of the solution and learn about the preventative measures you can take against vandalism.