What is Graffiti ?
Graffiti is the words, colors, and shapes drawn or scratched on buildings, overpasses, train cars, desks, and other surfaces. It's done without permission and it's against the law.
The term graffiti comes from the Greek word graphein, which means, "to write." Graffiti today ranges from simple, one-color monikers (like a nickname), called "tags", repeated on many surfaces to complex compositions of several colors.
- How is a community "hurt" by graffiti ?
Graffiti sends the signal that nobody cares, attracting other forms of crime and street delinquency to the neighborhood.
Graffiti drains tax dollars. Funds that could be used for schools, roads, parks, and other community improvements, are used for graffiti clean up.
Graffiti decreases a resident's feeling of safety. Neighborhoods with graffiti see a decrease in property values, loss of business growth and tourism, and reduced ridership on transit systems. Find out more about the costs of graffiti.
- Is all graffiti the same ?
About 80% of graffiti is "tagger" graffiti". Another 5% are "pieces," or large visuals. Nationally, gang graffiti makes up about 10%. In some cities, however, the amount of gang graffiti may be higher.
Most non-gang graffiti consists of "tags," "throw-ups," and "pieces":
- • a "tag" is the graffiti vandal's moniker applied quickly and repetitively.
- • a "throw-up" is a more elaborate tag, usually done in two or more colors. Vandals often use balloon letters, which are filled in or left as outlines.
- • "Pieces," short for "masterpieces," are large, detailed drawings. They are colorful, can include cartoon-like characters, and may take an hour or more to complete.
Gang graffiti is used to mark gang territory, list members, offer drugs or contraband for sale, or send warnings to rivals. It may include letters, symbols, or numbers known only by gangs and law enforcement.
Generic graffiti (or conventional graffiti) includes random markings, initials, declarations of love, social commentary, profanity, graduation events--"Class of 1997"--and other non-threatening messages. Generic graffiti has no particular style.
Ideological or hate graffiti is any racial, religious, or cultural slur.
- What happens to a graffiti writer who is caught? Is it really illegal?
Laws, codes, and ordinances that deal with graffiti vandalism may vary from community to community, but graffiti is illegal.
Typically, graffiti falls under "institutional vandalism" or "criminal mischief."
Enforcement of graffiti laws may include any or all of the following:
- • Fines and restitution for graffiti markings.
- • Arrest and imprisonment.
- • Parents or guardians fined or ordered to restore property to its original condition or provide restitution.
- What is the best way to prevent graffiti?
There should be a three-pronged approach to graffiti prevention.
First, remove graffiti promptly. Studies show that removal within 24 to 48 hours results in a nearly zero rate of reoccurrence. Once graffiti is cleaned up, work to change the environment so that it does not occur again in that location. Simple strategies, such as changing lighting, landscape, and access to property are effective prevention tools.
Second, educate citizens about graffiti vandalism and empower them to take action. This includes targeted prevention strategies for businesses, homeowners, and other residents. And provide a way for citizens to report graffiti vandalism.
Finally, ensure consistent enforcement of local ordinances with strict penalties for graffiti vandalism. Work with local law enforcement to ensure anti-graffiti laws are enforced, and that there is follow through in the court system.
- How do you remove graffiti?
There are several ways to remove graffiti. The best method for removal is determined by the amount of graffiti, its location, and the vandalized surface. The low-cost method is a paint-over, which is simply to paint over the graffiti. Surfaces that can't or shouldn't be painted are treated with solutions to remove graffiti, and care should be taken to use only safe, environmentally friendly, fully biodegradable solutions. Certain rough, porous surfaces such as brick and concrete may require power washing with water. Find out more about graffiti removal.More
- How is a community "hurt" by graffiti ?