Off the Wall’ Approach to Graffiti

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By Frank Fourchalk

I never gave much thought to graffiti in the past. However lately I  have seen more evidence of this senseless crime surfacing around our  community. Graffiti for the most part is the marking, drawing or  etching of public or private property without the owner’s permission.

This destructive tagging is like a contagious disease. If untreated  it will only get worse and spread like wildfire. Once graffiti takes  over a community you can be sure your safety and security will be  breached from drained tax dollars.

There are many types of graffiti. The most common is something  called, “tagger” graffiti. This type consists of “Tags”, “Throw-ups”,  and “Pieces”. A “tag” is the graffiti vandal’s moniker. This is usually  applied quickly and repetitively.

A “Throw-up” is a more elaborate tag, which usually involves two or  more colors. Vandals often use wide round balloon shaped letters which  may or may not have the outline filled in.

“Pieces” which is short for “masterpieces” are large drawings with comic book graphics. This type of graffiti is very colorful and quite often includes cartoon-type characters. Because of the detail, “Pieces” can take an hour or more to complete.

Most of the graffiti seen around our community is something called,  “Generic” or “Conventional” graffiti. They include random markings,  initials, declarations of love, social commentary, profanity,  graduation event and other non-threatening messages.

Whatever the case, graffiti is not welcome in this community! We  don’t want to let willful destroyers determine our futures economy with  a can of spray paint. We need to eradicate graffiti “pronto”, if we  want to secure our property values.

If your home, apartment building or business is the target of  graffiti remember the three R’s. Report the crime, Record the damage  with photographs in the event of prosecution and Remove the tag.

The longer graffiti is left, the costlier the job of removal  becomes. So if you are the target of graffiti consider painting over  the tag or using special cleaners before it has time to sink in. There  are also professional graffiti removal companies listed in our local  phone book who specialize in paint removal.

If you suspect you might be a target, there are graffiti-resistant  coatings that can be applied to walls which make for easier removal or  consider planting ivy, thorny bushes or trees in targeted hot spots.  Graffiti is quite often discouraged by simple landscaping techniques.  Lighting is always front and center in the war against crime.  Properties armed with increased lighting and visibility are less of a  target to these “fleeting vandals”.

If you witness suspicious behavior or graffiti crime, call police  immediately. Make sure you provide detailed descriptions of the  suspects and their vehicle. Details like gender,weight, height,  clothing and skin color. If a vehicle is involved note the make, model,  color and license number. This information is crucial if we want to put  a stop to this meaningless behavior.