Gaffiti Abatement Program (GAP)

Graffiti can be defined as “An inscription or a drawing placed upon property without the property owner’s permission.”  Graffiti is gang advertisement and is commonly scrawled on walls of public buildings and private properties.  It is used to make public announcements about the presence of gangs, their members and their agenda for future criminal activity.

Materials Used to Apply Graffiti

Materials used to apply graffiti include spray painting, grease pencils, markers, water-based paint, stickers, shoe polish and even crayons.

Why Does Graffiti Exist?

  • Gangs use graffiti to intimidate other gangs or members of the community.
  • Gangs use graffiti to advertise its name, its territory, its member’s names, names of gangs it is warring against and sometimes even a proposed murder list.
  • Graffiti in NOT an artistic expression.  Graffiti is not only the malicious destruction of property but it contributes to violence and other crime.

How Does Graffiti Affect a Neighborhood?

  • Graffiti leads to overall psychological and physical decline of a neighborhood.
  • It is vandalism and destruction of property.
  • If graffiti is not removed, gang members will interpret this as a sign of low neighborhood pride and they will assume they can control the neighborhood.
  • With graffiti, there will be an increase in gang crime and a corresponding decline in property values.

Removal of Graffiti

  • Graffiti should be removed as quickly as possible after its discovery.  There is a direct correlation between length of time prior to removal and the rate of reoccurrence.
  • Before graffiti is removed, at least two color photographs should be taken of it.  If a trail of photographic evidence can be tied to a vandal who has been caught, it may escalate the crime from a misdemeanor to a felony.
  • Taylor Police suggest that graffiti on private property be removed during early daylight hours by at least two people.

Graffiti Removal Tips

  • The sooner graffiti is removed, the easier it is to clean.
  • For pens on painted wood or metal surfaces, use denatured alcohol or “Safety  Two.”
  • For spray paint on painted wood, concrete or metal surfaces, use denatured alcohol or repaint it.
  • For pens or spray paint on unpainted concrete, stucco or aggregate, use “Safety Two,” then water under pressure with a wire brush.
  • For pens or spray paint on glass or plastic, use a window scraper, then denatured alcohol.
  • When using chemicals to remove graffiti, follow manufacturer’s instructions and wear proper protective equipment.  Some removers may damage some painted surfaces.
  • When painting over graffiti, try to match the background cover, if possible.  An alternative is to repaint the entire section of the wall.

Graffiti Prevention

  • For exposed concrete walls, consider growing vines or ivy to cover the wall.
  • Use dark paint on walled surfaces; graffiti does not show up well against a dark background.
  • Plant prickly or spiny shrubs adjacent to walls to discourage access.
  • Use graffiti-resistant coatings and protective coatings on exterior surfaces.

Source:  American Crime Prevention Institute