When we think about crime prevention, most of us don’t stop to consider public crimes like graffiti. Sure, sometimes graffiti can be more like works of art for street artists who don’t have another outlet but on the side of the freeway or on a wall of an old building, but more often than not graffiti is the work of territorial gangs and whatnot. At its core, even if it is beautiful, graffiti is vandalism without permission. Those who create graffiti have done so to gain attention and so that others will see it. The best thing to do if you see graffiti is to report it to the authorities, document it with a digital photograph and a description, and then clean it up thoroughly.
If you see an act of graffiti in progress, do not approach the offenders, rather call 9-1-1 who will dispatch the right authorities and either stop the act and arrest the perpetrators or help to organize for clean-up of the area if the act has already been completed. If you see completed graffiti on public property, you should call the City of Seattle hotline (note: only call this number if you see the graffiti in Seattle – you should call your local City Hotline searchable by Google if you live outside of Seattle) at 206-684-7587. If you see graffiti on your own property, you should call the Seattle Police non-emergency number to report it at 206-625-5011.
The biggest battle against graffiti and vandalism is learning how to prevent it. The number one tip for business owners or property owners is to create a community feeling among your neighbors or fellow business owners (like the neighborhood watch program we’ve talked about in the past). This way, neighbors will look out for one another and the neighborhood will remain safe, clean, and graffiti free.
Additionally, the Seattle Public Utilities Office offers these tips to help prevent graffiti:
Removing graffiti promptly is the best way to prevent it from occurring again. Conduct weekly inspections to help prevent graffiti on your property and in your community.
The vandals’ objective is to have others see their “tag” name. Vandals are drawn to walls that are not cleaned immediately because it means their “tag” will be up longer and seen by more people.
Make your property hard to vandalize: