- What about
experimental graffiti abatement programs? Do these programs
So called free walls, graffiti walls, graffiti zones, etc. have failed to
correct the vandalism communities have experienced. Huntington Beach,
California is one of the most famous of these examples. Once the vandals had a
place to paint, vandalism in the immediate area of the walls increased 300
percent. Graffiti zones do not work. Graffiti zones attract trouble. Despite
the obvious failure of the vandals to adhere to community agreements, this city
still stands accused of artistic censorship by graffiti advocates! Go figure!
(Another graffiti advocate deceit think ploy to gain world sympathy.)
Would you like SPECIFIC examples? Visit this page at Nograffiti.com called:
Free or Sanctioned Walls Vignettes from All
One of the first things many community anti-graffiti groups do is suggest a so
called "free-wall." The graffiti vandals are often the first to
suggest it to them. It is absolutely normal at first to feel sorry for the
vandal. Why wouldn't giving him or her a place to paint be a good idea? It
seems very appropriate at first. But be very careful. During the time period
between 1985 to about 1990, free wall experiments were tried in many cities.
There were also walls that were simply "over looked" as well as
designated walls that required some form of registration before painting could
begin. In virtually every case, vandalism in the areas around the free zones
became seriously problematic. Communities like Fresno, San Francisco, San Jose,
and Los Angeles found themselves confronted with increased vandalism.
Agreements between the cities and the so-called artists were not honored by the
"artists." Time has proven again and again that free walls do not
work. Apparently if a vandal is predisposed to violate the law, all the free
walls in the world won't keep the vandal straight, and the paint off your wall.
There is no honor among vandals.
Over looking the graffiti problem in certain areas of town, even under railroad
over passes, encourages continuing vandalism. Graffiti abatement efforts are
successful only when a zero tolerance policy is adopted. If you give the vandal
a place to paint the vandal will become bored with that location and move to
A known tactic of the graffiti vandals is to practice or plan a piece with
their crew on a free wall. The crew then goes elsewhere to paint the same
picture without permission! Why? What the vandals who demand free walls don't
tell you, and don't want you to know, is that the act of painting illegally is
an essential part of the vandalism culture. If it isn't illegal it isn't
graffiti. A city with a free wall could very well be contributing to the
graffiti vandalism problem in another community. So be informed. Be absolutely
outraged if the community next to you develops a soft heart for vandals. Your
own community will pay the price.
In some cities, like Philadelphia, PA, government or privately sponsored
community murals are helping to abate graffiti. What is present in this method
that is absent in the "free zone" approach is adult empowerment,
support, and supervision. In some instances painting is not the only activity
kids are involved in. Kids have something to be proud of when finished. They
take pride in their work. In most cases the people doing the painting have
never been graffiti vandals!
In one Bay Area city an arts organization paid graffiti vandals to do a legal
mural. The legal work was done, and soon afterward, the tags of those paid to
do the work started to appear on walls and utility boxes in the same area.
Mural experiments must have strict guidelines and supervision. In this case, I
am told, the city let the mural artist have his way with little attention.
In places where vandals do have access to free wall it is not uncommon for a
crew to practice on the free wall and go someplace else to do the same piece
illegally. This has been documented in the U.S. and the United States. The
sooner the do-gooders recognize graffiti vandals for what they really are the
better. Free walls don't work.
California's Cal Trans had graffiti crews paint murals at freeway overpasses in
the San Francisco area without coordinating these activities with the cities.
Vandals that painted these murals are now trashing the areas in the vicinity of
the murals. One government agency is blessing graffiti vandalism while the
other is fighting it tooth and nail.
Even commercial walls painted to resemble graffiti attract vandalism. A famous
San Francisco restaurant and night spot had their walls painted in hip hop
style. It took no time before the walls of the business attracted vandals from
everywhere. The entire neighborhood is now covered in graffiti. This poison the
graffiti advocates call art is destroying the beauty of of our communities.
- Government and the
Police departments, especially departments in small cities do not have time to
investigate all vandalism complaints. The community and neighborhood watch
groups must assume a serious role in the observing and reporting of vandalism.
Police do respond to graffiti crimes in progress. The community cannot
expect the police department alone to solve the graffiti problem. Graffiti
IS a community issue and the police are just one integral part of a
complex solution. Do make it easy for the police to do enforcement by getting
good descriptions of suspects and suspect vehicles (make, model, license
numbers etc.) Combine your graffiti abatement program with your crime
prevention program. Encourage your local police department to stay the course.
Police departments that encourage officers to investigate misdemeanor vandalism
complaints are generally departments that use
community policing procedures. Under the
community policing philosophy, criminal problems in the community are
identified and solutions are sought. If your community is not using community
policing visit with your Chief of Police and ask why. Years ago many police
departments had no interest in investigating graffiti complaints. That appears
to be changing. When you run into this problem in your town get their attention
by starting internally at the top. If you can't get attention going in the
front door start with the council or the police chief. Graffiti is a crime but
it is also a social problem, one that is also perplexingly encouraged and
supported by the radical political left.. It is ALSO a police problem whether
the police like it or not. There used to be no glory investigating graffiti and
the officers assigned frequently wished they were doing something else. Real
graffiti cops were a rare breed, but not any more. Thanks to the NoGraf Network
and thanks to to the pioneering efforts of police in the mid to late 90's the
real graffiti cop was born. Meet real graffiti cops at
In California an officer must witness a misdemeanor to make an arrest,
otherwise an investigation must be completed and a warrant sought before an
arrest can be made. Witnesses to graffiti crimes can make a citizen's arrest.
Felony vandalism arrests can be made on probable cause without warrant. A
felony vandalism arrest is made when the damage amount exceeds $5000.
California has passed a law that allows police to classify multiple graffiti
damage locations as a felony. What are the graffiti laws in your state? Have
you considered strengthening the laws in your state?
Graffiti abatement requires cooperation between citizens, police, district
attorneys, judges, and local and state governments. Graffiti is a crime, but it
is also a condition of our society's failure to raise children with traditional
values and respect for law and the rights of others. We have not been
caring for our kids.
Political leaders will sometimes not agree their city or county has a graffiti
problem until 1) citizens bring proof and pressure to bear 2) the politicians
are victims themselves 3) area businesses become enraged (money talks) 4) it is
so obvious it cannot be ignored. It is embarrassing for some politicians to
admit there is a graffiti problem. Serious elected officials with their hearts
in the community can see the damage and arrange for appropriate action. Don't
be surprised at first when politicians try to ignore a graffiti problem. It is
a routine part of the process. You see it and you go through denial that it
could get any worse. The politicians have a vested interest in NOT having
problems happen during their term in office.
When the public loses interest in graffiti abatement, government agencies will
lose interest as well. In order not to lose interest any program needs a person
or committee independent of government to manage the effort. It takes energy,
management, supervision and direction to keep a program running. City officials
never seem to have the time, but volunteers often do. Help your city cope with
graffiti by starting a well organized and supervised program dedicated to
abatement and community education. When the community support begins to wane it
is ALSO imperative that the city or county invigorate the program without the
community's help until people do return. Graffiti abatement is not something
you can start and stop. Abatement is a necessary and continuing process.
It is easy for the community to determine just how serious government and local
business organizations are about graffiti abatement. Lip service does not
eliminate the complaints or the graffiti. If you have been talking to your city
for some time and the graffiti remains, all you are getting is lip service.
Stay on top of the government agency because like it or not, you need their
support. The ballot box is an effective tool. Vote politicians out of office
that do not have a long term commitment to ending vandalism.
Banning the sale of aerosol paint cans outright was ruled unconstitutional in
Chicago in 1993. The courts heard that 95% of the people responsible for
graffiti vandalism were too committed to be deterred by the ban. (Source
NGIN "From the Wall" December 1993.) Banning of aerosol paints is
frequently topical and very controversial. It is an attempt to remove the
vandal's primary tool. The effectiveness of this method can be debated. In
general, the vandal will go wherever he or she needs to get their paints or
markers -- including mail order and especially petty theft or burglary. Have we
really reached a point where we must inconvenience the law abiding citizen
because we are not able to control the distribution of paints at the point of
sale? Should we be looking at encouraging business to lock up paints and
supplies rather than limiting what can be sold?
I have run across a police department in California that believes that
enforcement is a MAJOR part of the abatement effort. When it is obvious
that certain parts of town are being struck by vandals this agency puts
officers out to catch the culprits. This city North of San Francisco, caught 30
kids in a little over two weeks and almost brought a complete halt to the
problem. When the city notices the problem creeping back the police get tough
again. So it seems law enforcement is a philosophy than can vary from
place to place. I suspect it has much to do with budgets and what police
officials in your area consider important.
The laws in the U.S. are getting tougher and more graffiti vandals are getting
Some states still don't get it. They can't see the forest for the
trees. Despite the horrific damage graffiti vandals do some states can't enact
laws that make public vandalism a serious crime. The lobbyists against laws
that allow police to make multiple misdemeanors a single felony count are self
serving legal groups and in some cases - actual city and county governments. A
recent case in California where a vandal was caught with 30 or more acts of
vandalism amounting to over $90,000 was tried on ONE lousy misdemeanor and
fined a miserable $1500. Where is the justice in that? The truth is the public
doesn't know - yet. Californians mark my words. The time is come for an
initiative that MANDATES vermin like this be tried as felons. They must also be
held accountable for the damage they cause down to the last cent.
- Art, Crime, and
Graffiti is a crime. Graffiti is vandalism. Graffiti is not art. There can be
no argument in support of vandalism.
Commissioned art is not graffiti. Murals or walls painted LEGALLY are paintings
or murals. Commission graffiti-style art carefully. A very famous place in a
very famous city had graffiti-style paintings painted on the outside. Now the
community near this business is a sewer of graffiti vandalism.
Every state has vandalism laws that apply to graffiti. Graffiti may have once
been over looked in some areas but it has always been illegal.
In California, when public property is damaged by the vandal, intent to
commit vandalism is presumed by statute.
Why is graffiti such an issue? Why this web page and why the FAQ? Graffiti is
in vogue by a small subculture of vandals who unfortunately are having a major
impact on the overall quality of life. Communities that never had a graffiti
problem, suddenly do. Cities that had a small problem suddenly have a major
problem. Graffiti is invading places and communities where we as civilized
persons thought it would never take hold. Small Town, USA has graffiti on Main
Street now. Graffiti is a sign of our time that needs attention. Information on
the net was predominately pro-graffiti with no active voice against graffiti.
Even in communities with plenty of things for kids to do there are graffiti
Graffiti advocates believe graffiti is art and that so called "graffiti
artists" have the right to paint any wall, any where, any time. Your blank
wall is unsightly to the graffiti vandal and therefor is a perfect surface for
Graffiti advocates believe graffiti is a right, protected by the first
amendment, and that the property rights of the victim do not apply in any
argument against graffiti. They feel graffiti is an acceptable form of self
expression that the rest of the world is just too stupid to accept.
Graffiti advocates do not want graffiti legalized. The act of painting
illegally is a major part of the thrill. Breaking the law and avoiding arrest
is part of their culture. The need for so called legal walls is a continual
rallying point with graffiti advocates but in reality the "legal
wall" is part of their deceit.
Graffiti advocates will ask you whether you would want the graffiti artist out
making pretty pictures or killing people. At least he's not killing people they
say. This is supposed to make you feel better. (The other problem with this
argument is that "tag bangers" in Los Angeles are killing and being
killed. Most of the vandals caught up in graffiti don't understand their own
sub-culture or are bent on deceiving the uninformed.)
Graffiti advocates believe that since legal billboards exist their graffiti
should be allowed. This because they are financially challenged.
Rampant graffiti in a neighborhood tends to lower property values and scare
away responsible persons who might otherwise buy property and invest in the
community. The economic health of a community depends on the social health. We
are all responsible for the social health of our towns.
Many states allow victims of graffiti to sue the vandals to recover damages. In
California Sections 1714.1B and 1721 of the California Civil Code provide
remedies for graffiti victims.
- How do communities
respond to graffiti?
It is perfectly natural to at first feel some empathy for the poor
disenfranchised tagger. If you don't know they are deceiving you, you approach
the problem like you would any other. Get over it. Graffiti advocates are not
after empathy, only your wall.
Communities must begin their fight against graffiti the moment the graffiti
first appears. When you delay your response the vandalism worsens. Before you
know it the vandals have created zones of their own that you will start calling
"graffiti alley." Develop a zero tolerance attitude toward
- Teach about anti-graffiti in the middle school DARE program.
- Educate the community.
- Educate stores who sell markers and paint sticks, about what kind of tools
graffiti taggers use to make their mark.
- Get the community involved.
- Identify and Prosecute offenders.
- Develop a graffiti abatement ordinance.
- Get people to report graffiti for tracking - even if they do (thank you!)
clean it up themselves.
- Involve the School Resource Officer in Graffiti prevention.
- Use volunteer groups to inventory and identify all sites with graffiti in
- When graffiti shows up on public utilities (pay phones, poles, power
transfer boxes) notify the appropriate utility for clean up.
- The police keep a "piece book" of taggers and their work and
- Work with other cities specialists to help train our officers in gang
related graffiti markings and monikers - Particularly cities with previous
experience in this area.
- Frequent patrol of problem areas.
- Planned Citizens Police Academy w/discussion in one block of specific
issues, i.e., graffiti, shoplifting
- Vigilance is a key factor in abatement.
- Have graffiti reporting numbers.
- Ask the community to report crimes in progress via 911.
- Document all graffiti cases with a criminal report and photographs whenever
possible. And: If someone sees graffiti , citizens are encouraged to clean
graffiti and to take a picture for the police. The stylized writing and moniker
just might identify the person responsible!
- Report all graffiti to the police.
Your community will have no funds for graffiti abatement. You will seek
community support to meet the expense. Identify volunteers willing to do fund
raising activities for your community abatement team. Team up with your
business community or a local high school. (Be creative.)
Identify and take advantage of grant opportunities. There may be grant funds
available to your abatement program from sources other than the local
There are no easy answers to eliminating graffiti. Each community's response to
the blight is slightly different. Organizing abatement should be taken
seriously. Identify goals and objectives and meet each one.
Don't Balkanize the abatement effort. Don't let one city department work
against another. It is too easy for each part of a city to have its own
graffiti abatement program. When this happens, graffiti gets abated
occasionally but not routinely. No one knows who is in charge and everyone
takes credit (especially the politicians) whether they deserve it or
not. Make sure your community organizes to get the job done properly.
Hold your local authorities accountable. Don't let the anti-graffiti effort in
your town lose momentum because a politician, bureaucrat or a police official,
doesn't have time to do his or her job. Whenever you hear that old excuse,
offer up a volunteer, and/or insist the jurisdiction hire enough people to meet
the expectations of its citizens. Never accept no for an answer. Tell
them you are also fed up with excuses and arguments. Likewise, whenever a city
official does a great job toward meeting the abatement objective, go out of
your way to thank his or her supervisor and the local elected officials.
Get the local newspaper to publish the activities of your volunteer graffiti
abatement group. This might be harder than you think especially if the local
paper has persons who are sympathetic with the plight of the so called
"street artist. It has been my personal experience that today's news
media, especially newspapers, are prone to be graffiti advocates.
When you start your organization it will falter unless you have experienced
volunteer leaders and the cooperation of your local government.
Make sure your community D.A.R.E. program has an anti-crime,
anti-vandalism, anti-graffiti unit included for the kids in local schools.
(Drug Abuse Resistance Education) D.A.R.E. programs do work. The programs do
reach kids early in life so the kids can make intelligent choices about their
future and their friends. Support your local D.A.R.E. officer.
Work with kids in your community. Develop mentor programs. Identify "at
risk kids and groups. Build youth centers. Create REAL ART programs for kids
and young adults.
Do your local youth centers and organizations talk about vandalism? Encourage
local anti-vandalism youth programs.
There are some inherently bad responses to graffiti. One of the worst examples
of graffiti removal policy is perpetuated by California's highway department,
CalTrans. Wherever they have new freeway contract work in progress they ONLY
require contractors to clean the graffiti at the beginning and the end of the
contract. This means graffiti placed on walls during the job can be up for
months attracting even more damage. I have personal experience with this
policy. Instead of meeting the challenge to abate vandalism this mindless
bureaucracy makes graffiti videos with school children. part of the graffiti
fight is controlling the government agencies that are supposed to be on our
- Fundamentals: The
Truth Has a Way of Making Itself Obvious
The fundamental emphasis of any graffiti abatement program is the prompt
removal of graffiti damage. The faster you remove it the faster the problem
diminishes. Most successful programs have a 24 hour or less abatement rule.
Cities that are serious about removing graffiti aggressively use their graffiti
The difference between graffiti and art is permission.
Cleaning graffiti is hard work.
Cleaning graffiti is expensive.
Graffiti often damages surfaces to the point of permanently changing the
character of the surface and the character of the neighborhood.
There is no such thing as a graffiti artist. Anyone who still believes there
is a graffiti advocate that has an agenda.
Painting over graffiti damage is, in some cases, the only way to cover it up.
Framing graffiti with paint attracts the attention of the vandal on repeated
occasions. When you don't match the color, or just paint over the tag, you
invite a return performance by the vandal. The paint job looks terrible and so
does your building! Take time to do it right!
Graffiti advocates consider any attempt to abate graffiti ridiculous. They
threaten to expand their vandalism to new levels if you paint over their work.
Graffiti writers do turn their lives around and become productive, responsible
members of society. When you can engage a vandal in conversation stick firmly
to the truth that graffiti is vandalism. Once in a while a discussion like this
can help turn someone around. Some of the vandals are indeed socially
undesirable. Others are just kids with an attitude. Deal with the attitude and
bring the kid back.
Parents are held responsible for graffiti damage. Moms and Dads: discipline,
respect, and self worth are all learned at home. When you don't teach and
reinforce positive traits in your children you may have to pay for it.
Vandals are held responsible for graffiti damage.
When vandals are caught, they are prosecuted.
Some vandals steal their paint.
Regardless of what you read at the Art Crimes web site, much of today's
graffiti is indeed gang related (turf marking, drug oriented, or hate type) tag
graffiti. Travel through any large communities like San Francisco, Los Angeles,
and even my little town of Pleasant Hill and it becomes quite obvious.
Art Crimes is clueless. The number of persons actually interested
in painting pretty pictures must be minuscule when compared to the amount of
bad talent and gang graffiti out there. The gang vs artist debate is a
smoke screen used to placate communities. Graffiti advocates want you to look
the other way. The few who are not in gangs don't want you to feel concerned or
frightened when a gang moniker or the tag from a violent crew appears on the
power pole in front of your home. The graffiti advocate knows if you are
concerned about the effects of graffiti, the "graffiti artist" down
the street might get extra attention from the police. Tagging crews are a gang
of sorts, since they are involved in illegal activity that can include theft of
paint and markers from stores, violence against the public and other crews, as
well as misdemeanor or felony vandalism. Graffiti vandals are indeed in gangs!
Anyone who tells you otherwise is uninformed or is trying to deceive you.
Essential elements of a zero tolerance anti-graffiti effort are: 1) response
time 2) wall-to-wall identical color matching, proven to reduce the odds of
recurrence by as much as 900%, and 3) economics, the way your community decides
to clean graffiti can reduce your community's over all abatement cost by
selecting new technological advances in color matching.
You may never eliminate graffiti in your town but you can control it through
Coiled concertina wire (barbed wire) and huge rat guards protect freeway signs
from graffiti vandalism in Southern, California. Ask the graffiti advocate if
this ("tagging the heavens") really contributes to a beautiful
community? Ask graffiti advocates if vandals falling from freeway over passes
is part of the thrill. The vandal's relentless attacks on public property
prompted this extreme action.
The anti-graffiti movement is a swelling grass roots cause consisting of
persons in all occupations, socioeconomic, racial, ethnic, and sexual
backgrounds. We are conservatives, middle of the road, and liberals, of every
color in the rainbow. We are not "right wing militia psychos" as one
graffiti advocate characterizes us. We are committed to ending the tragedy of
graffiti. We are fathers, mothers, sons and daughters. We are grandmothers and
grandfathers. We are families and civic groups. We are volunteers and
businesses alike dedicated to ending this madness we call graffiti. We are
tenacious. We are relentless. We never give up. We know the difference between
graffiti and art. We care about our community and the people in it.
- What about
business owners and graffiti?
When graffiti first appears, business owners often expect government to clean
the damage. Remarkably, business does not consider abatement a cost of doing
business. Business wants the police and city to fix the problem. Some business
owners balk at graffiti ordinances and avoid cooperating. In the end,
successful and enlightened business leaders set the mood and bring the laggards
along with them. This can be a long and frustrating process. Their attitude
will amaze you. It is particularly puzzling in today's conservative "less
government is better" business environment. You quickly understand why we
have rules for businesses to follow and why all of the rules can't be removed
from the books. These same laggards will often be the ones lobbying against
Businesses who do not abate graffiti attract the ire of the community and the
official attention of the local government code enforcement officer.
Some businesses do not take graffiti code enforcement seriously, ever .
It will take the support of the community and even court appearances to wake up
some business owners. You will scratch your head and wonder why!
Some cities do clean graffiti from commercial property without charge to
Business owners who do not cooperate with anti-graffiti clean up efforts are
not seen as responsible businesses in the community.
Business owners who go out of their way to help abate graffiti, attract the
positive attention of the town in which they operate. Go out of your way to
recognize responsible business owners as part of your abatement rewards
Business owners and managers need to establish a relationship with the
community in which they work and participate in graffiti abatement advisory
groups and Neighborhood Watch.
Graffiti is vandalism. Just like replacing a broken window, removing
graffiti is part of the cost of doing business. Business owners begin to
anger when the damage is repeated. Suddenly the cost of doing business becomes
more than the business is willing to pay. When the the limits of their patience
and pocket books is reached, some business owners feign any responsibility for
removing graffiti. The business might say, "When I clean my walls or fix
my windows is up to me. If you want it cleaned sooner do it for me!" They
know better. They really do. This attitude is one major reason that has
prompted the Anti-Graffiti ordinances being adopted nation wide.
The slackers in the business community might tell you that graffiti ordinances
are "unfunded mandates." Some politicians sensitive to business
interests will buy-in to this view point and vote against the ordinances. The
unfunded mandate argument is irresponsible and not relevant. The "unfunded
mandate" as they describe it, is part of the cost of doing business.
Repairing a business was never anyone else's job, why now? The business that
leaves the graffiti up does so because the owner is mad as hell. The owner is
frustrated that the vermin responsible are never caught and punished. There is
also a perception that police are not doing enough for the business owner e.g.
catching the vandals. The cost of abatement eats up profits fast.
Unfortunately, when the graffiti remains the graffiti gets worse and in the
long run business gets worse as patrons stay away from a decaying neighborhood.
As I see it business owners have two choices: 1) fight the blight now or
2) snooze and loose everything later. Your future is up to you!.
Is your business repeatedly attacked by graffiti vandals? Do like the
neighborhoods do and form a Commercial Neighborhood Watch group. Form clean up
committees and help each other remove the damage. Assume some responsibility
for the immediate area around your business as well as responsibility for your
own walls. Ask your customers in the neighborhood to help! Do you have 24 hour
businesses in the area? Ask the employees of these stores to be mindful of the
area and to call the police if suspicious activity is seen. Be creative! Watch
out for each other! Join the abatement effort. It isn't easy, but then neither
is running your business!
Do you want an excellent example of a business who cares about their town? Do a
Google search for "graffiti removal" and/or "graffiti
abatement" and see just how many cities around the world are actively
tackling this blight.
- Graffiti Advocate Attitudes:
Inhibiting abatement through encouragement of graffiti
You may not believe it, but there is an ever growing commercial element to the
vandalism sub-culture of the graffiti vandal. Books,
paints and vandalism supplies are available
by mail or in local stores. New stores are opening that sell products used by
graffiti vandals. As we enter yet another cycle in the tragedy of graffiti, the
hip-hop stores are the rage . In many parts of the country the commercial
activity is so new, that even your local police department may be totally
unaware of it. The secondary effects these businesses have on your
communities is quite serious.
Persons, magazines, web sites,
groups, video vendors,
art supply stores,and even
schools that celebrate vandalism tend to encourage vandalism. Be
conscious of deviant attitudes and be prepared to respond and defend your
abatement programs in front of your children and local authorities. Are you
reading the magazines read by your children? Do you supervise their after
school activities? Are you mindful of their activity on the Internet? Who is
influencing your child's mind? Where you least expect it you will find the
graffiti advocate. Does your son or daughter
have a web page at your local high school that contains
photographs of graffiti vandalism? Is your child a fledgling graffiti advocate?
Only parents can draw the line between free speech and morality. Some
schools apparently no longer caution their students about their point of view
or the direction their point of view can take them in life. A
student's opinion is a free speech issue and the schools see no moral
obligation to interfere with immature opinion or provide instruction
in civic duty, because of a liberal interpretation of the First Amendment. That
being the case, if the school does not care about
the content of pages cranked out in the World Wide Web Class,
perhaps mom and dad should?
As an example, take a look at this link to the on-line issue of
Magazine and an article entitled, "Stretching the Mind" from
the February 5, 1997 issue, written and produced by students of the New Vista
High School in the Boulder Valley School District in Boulder, Colorado. (This
same school published nude photographs on the world wide web taken by student
in an "art" class. ) A student writes a review of the Art Crimes web
site heaping praise on graffiti vandalism and glorifies a list of the most
notorious of the graffiti villains. Does this child really know what graffiti
means and are the schools and the parents paying attention? Is this child
stretching his mind, is he actively deceiving himself, or is someone else
deceiving him? During the same week of February, Fremont California Police
concluded an investigation of 34 graffiti vandals, 14 of whom were arrested,
and who may all go to jail for graffiti vandalism related felonies. A felony
means prison. Is the young author of this review aware of what and whom he
is glorifying? Changing attitudes about crime and vandalism is a responsibility
the schools and parents. Schools have to deal with the issue of vandalism when
kids want to bring the topic of graffiti into the classroom. The meaning of law
must be clear to kids and adults who think the pictures are pretty. (KIDS
Magazine is a project of Net Scout Services located at the Department of
Computer Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is a project of
the InterNIC.) (By 12/18/96, graffiti advocate pages on a high school server
in New Mexico referenced by this paragraph had been removed and are no longer
accessible. There is
one page on the high school server that
refers visitors to the Georgia Tech Art Crimes web site.) How do we help
our high schoolers and teachers understand the difference between vandalism and
art or the difference between a future with or without a criminal record?
Graffiti advocates on the Internet generally use personal attacks and threats
to send their graffiti advocate message. Frequent references to their personal
opinion of unrelated issues clouds their arguments. You need a "sticks and
stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me attitude."
The cave-man theory is a popular defense for graffiti. "If the cave man
could do it so can the "graffiti artist" of today. Graffiti has been
around since the dawn of time. Remind whomever uses this priceless obfuscation
that the cave man used blood and spit for paint. I'm also sure that if he spit
blood in a cave other than his own he got his head bonked. Ask the vandals if
they still use blood and spit and then remind the vandals that canvas wasn't
available to early man. I kind of doubt the cave man painted on walls for the
same reasons today's graffiti vandals do. This single graffiti advocate theory
is on of the most commonly used! Incredible, as stupid as it is, this
obfuscation continues to give the vandals reason a for being.
Like the cave-man theory, it is common to hear a vandal support his vandalism
addiction by saying if man has done it since the beginning of time why can't I.
Just remind the vandal it sounds like the age old problem a parent has with an
immature child. "Well Johnny has one why can't I, waaaaah!?"
Graffiti advocates know how easy it is to be so right, about how graffiti is so
Graffiti advocates truly believe they are fighting for a worth while cause.
They believe they are on a holy crusade to protect an art form.
Graffiti advocates don't really want graffiti legalized, they just want law
enforcement and the community to over look it. They would still enjoy being
chased by the police once in a while to maintain the thrill!
Graffiti advocates frequently defend their vandalism by making reference to
legal bill board advertising. The graffiti advocates feel they are often
economically disadvantaged so they should be allowed to "advertise"
too. (Advertise what I wonder?) They see no difference between a bill
board and a tag placed on a freeway sign (or so they say.) This argument
is so ridiculous it confounds most people.
Graffiti advocates want you to leave the graffiti artists alone because the
pictures are pretty. (PPP syndrome: Pretty Picture Protectiveness.)
Persons suffering from PPP are naive. They probably have never been a graffiti
victim. They see only the pretty picture and not the criminal act.
Everyone needs to fight this syndrome at some point. The sooner the better.
PPP causes people to put graffiti in two categories: 1) ugly scrawls 2)
"street art." All because the picture is pretty. Remember it is
only legal art when it is legal. Simple concept. Don't become confused when you
discuss abatement. Don't protect one form of vandalism and scourge the other.
Your abatement effort is doomed if you do. The graffiti advocates want you to
believe there are "distinctions" to be made about who does what kind
of graffiti. There are NO distinctions to be made. Vandalism is vandalism. The
concept is so simple to understand you always wonder when you hear people being
sympathetic for the poor down trodden graffiti vandal.
Universities sincerely interested in education and the study of deviant
behaviors as applied to modern technology, computer science, multimedia and
communications, graphic arts, HTML, ad. nauseam, should read their students web
pages. Some research standards must exist so that illegal behaviors are not
celebrated. The webmaster must not receive high praise and accolades for
the secondary effects of a graffiti advocate web page throughout the civilized
world. (graffiti vandalism) When the researcher becomes part of the
problem the educational value of the "research" becomes obscured.
Academic freedom does not give a
student the right to encourage criminal behavior. Anyone can photograph,
scan, and collect pretty pictures for display on the web. There are proper
ways, even in a liberal school, to research and publish without contributing to
the growth of destructive and criminal behaviors in our society. Certainly a
degree should not be awarded to the sponsor of a conspiracy. If your child's
university has a graffiti advocate web page ask the college president why.
If he isn't moved, ask the alumni association for help. If the alumni turn
away, share your knowledge with businesses in the college town. Perhaps if that
town has a graffiti problem you might just see an article in the paper about
the web site changing to another point of view. Freedom of speech and thought
is not an issue when the activity has the same effect as yelling
"fire" in a crowded theatre.Expect and demand better attitudes
from an institution of higher learning.
Your country, your town, and your property belong to you, and not to the
vandal. You have a right to say, "Not in my back yard."
Other web sites represent a personal challenge for parents. Because we do live
in America, there is a First Amendment right to believe and speak as you
please. The graffiti advocate pages you find on the world wide web do perhaps
represent an error in judgement on the part of the author, but... While you
should expect better judgement from an educational institution, you cannot and
should not attempt to control the publishing efforts of deviants espousing
graffiti as an art form on their personal pages. Remember that these pages
speak for themselves without much help from you. Just be prepared to defend
your abatement efforts when someone points to one of these documents with
questions about your position on the issue. Stay informed, stay one step ahead
of the deceit thinker. Oh and, send your children to high schools and colleges
without a graffiti advocate web site.
The Graffiti Advocates Mount Rushmore theory is a unique twist. Because the
sculpture on Mt. Rushmore exists graffiti should be OK! You all get the
The heroin addict portrayal theory is a new one too! Television and the movies
portray people as drug addicts. TV puts them on display as it were. So graffiti
advocates putting pictures of vandalism on the web is the same thing right?
Well no not really, because most of the time anyway, in the end, the bad guy
gets his. Addicts go to jail, they destroy their heads, or they die. We don't
often see the main stream media showing off pictures of dope addicts to
encourage the addicts to continue their behavior. More graffiti advocate
theories as I become aware of them!
- What about graffiti damage and the
effects of graffiti?
Etching a window dramatically reduces the window's structural integrity.
Windows that have been etched are a safety hazard when subjected to sever shock
or movement, e.g. earthquake.
Allan Champion of Glass Scratch Removers, a company that serves the San
Francisco Bay Area, says that scratches on glass from etching vandalism can be
polished off! A high speed slurry process using rare earth elements and water
in a suction vacuum over the scratch can polish and return the strength to the
glass. It is a solution for damage where the cost of replacing the entire
window is a consideration. See the Vendors page on the Anti-Graffiti Web for
Graffiti damage changes the appearance of a community permanently. It isn't too
hard to tell where the original damage was unless your community has purchased
the technology to match the colors of vandalized surfaces.
Property values and the identity of a community are changed by graffiti.
Contrary to what the graffiti advocates would have you believe the change is
NOT for the better. There can be significant damage to your property
investment and the economic health of your community when graffiti is unabated.
Graffiti is a blight on the community and the community landscape.
Graffiti makes people fearful of their own neighborhoods.
Graffiti impacts negatively the value of community space and property.
The cost of graffiti damage in the United States is staggering and
unfortunately the Georgia Institute of Technology isn't
paying the bill. You are. I learned at the Annual Anti-Graffiti Conference in
San Jose for 1996 that the annual cost of abatement nationwide in 1995 was in
the FOUR BILLION dollar range.
In 1995 the San Jose, California Anti-Graffiti effort recorded the following
statistics: 1,021,479 square feet of graffiti painted using 5000 gallons of
paint; 62 paint-outs held; 10,400 hours of juvenile volunteer time used; 23
surveillance projects that netted 18 graffiti vandals; and 120 juvenile
offenders who participated in weekend clean up details as part of their
Graffiti vandals have destroyed archaeological treasures in pursuit of their
"self expression." An archaeologist from Oregon wrote to the
Anti-Graffiti Web that vandals destroyed Native American historical sites in
the National Parks. An interesting twist to this story is that well meaning
abatement volunteers compounded the damage by removing the graffiti with
chemicals or procedures that prevented the archaeologist from obtaining
critical research data. Graffiti is destructive to history and to our culture.
Abatement at historical places certainly requires professional assistance!
Persons that have given up on various political systems use graffiti out of
anger and hatred to send their messages to opposition elements. Political
graffiti is a serious problem in some countries.
- What are some controversial
A government agency will frequently alert the community to the suspected
presence of crooks and violent offenders through the media, wanted posters, or
through neighborhood watch groups. What these same agencies won't do is publish
pictures of graffiti or the tags found on walls in their communities. You will
read articles about graffiti in the paper but you won't read that a specific
tag was found. The reason for not publishing this information is so that
vandals are not given any credit for the vandalism. The major drawback of this
philosophy is that the community (including potential informants) never see
information that could lead to the identity of the vandal. Communities
side-step around the graffiti issue on tippee toe for fear the vandals will
come out in force. As a community, you need to decide who, what, when, why, and
where tags are or are not used to identify and catch the vandals. Is alerting
the community to the tags part of you philosophy or not? It can be a Catch-22.
Police can't or won't investigate but you can't share your findings with the
town either. How are we going to catch those responsible for the graffiti?
This web page and this FAQ is admittedly a controversial approach. Look around
you and you will find very few communities dealing with vandalism publicly.
(This was true in 1995 but not as true in 2008!) Fighting back has always been
done quietly with a paint brush despite the number and volume of the graffiti
- How do you catch or discourage the
Encourage your local police to set aside time and man power to put trouble
spots under surveillance. The police do have a role in fighting graffiti.
Arrests play a part in reducing vandalism.
Watch for suspicious persons in areas where graffiti is a problem. Report the
persons to police. Provide accurate descriptions of persons and vehicles.
Report graffiti when you find it. Give the police an indication of when the
damage happened. Between what times? Establish a pattern.
Video surveillance is a good technique to catch vandals.
Plant ivy that will obscure targeted walls over time. When the vandal has no
surface he can't paint.
Put sprinklers on a motion sensor. When the vandal gets close to a wall, the
vandal gets wet.
Increase lighting and visibility around graffiti areas. This can include
cutting back shrubbery and pruning trees so that areas obscured by greenery can
be seen from well traveled areas.
Stake out the vandal's favorite spots. Report activity in progress to police.
Note that some communities are using citizen surveillance with great success.
Other community police departments won't even discuss the possibility. When you
do decide to use this approach it is absolutely essential that responsible
persons participate and that they follow the instructions of the police to the
letter. It is never a good idea to attempt an arrest on your own. Hot heads
need not apply! Ask your police agency to use the new surveilance products
available to them.
Encourage neighbors to walk in these areas when exercising. Walk in groups and
carry a cellular phone to report suspicious activity. (There are unique
citizens groups who patrol their neighborhoods with cellular phones looking
specifically for taggers!)
Establish a neighborhood watch group. Be serious about it. make sure the
neighbors know where the graffiti problem areas are so that if they see
loitering persons they will know to call the police.
Consider a reward program. When a vandal is caught as a result of a tip give a
Parents should take an interest in the activities of their children. Watch for
graffiti on personal items. Look for paint cans, large magic markers, "My
Name Is" stickers, or tools you don't recognize (that might be used for
etching.) Look for their "piece book" and ask them if any of their
drawings are on the city walls. Look at the graffiti in your neighborhood and
ask your children about it. Are their hands stained by paint and hand-held
markers? Discuss with your kids how the appearance of graffiti trashes the
neighborhood in which you live. Discuss with them who the victims are. Get
professional help for your child if you discover involvement in the graffiti
sub-culture. When your kid is caught you will pay for the damage he or
she has inflicted on the community. Your child will continue to sink deeper and
deeper into an aberrant sub-culture.
Encourage your city to belong to an area wide Anti-Graffiti Task Force where
items like the following are discussed and information exchanged: abatement
products, how vandals damage property, how to use volunteers, abatement
programs and practices, and law enforcement issues (tag and moniker information
In the 2000's there are many new methods police can use to knab
the graffiti vandal in the act. There are links to many of these companies on
the Anti-Graffiti Web Clean
- What are some hazards of cleaning
Many removal products can be hazardous to your health. Wear appropriate safety
clothing, masks, breathing, and eye protection. Follow the guidelines as
established by your volunteer group. Make sure you train volunteers in the
proper use of cleaning equipment and products. Read the directions on all
Use caution in cleaning signs near major streets and intersections. You can
be killed while not observing safety considerations near heavy vehicle
traffic. Wear bright Federal Safety Orange jackets or vests so that drivers
of vehicles can see you.
Don't be a hero. Don't try to clean graffiti in places that are way out of
reach. Insist that the agency responsible for the sign do the cleaning.
Make sure that any recycled paint you use to abate graffiti has been tested for
the ABSENCE of LEAD. You don't want to create a toxic problem where none
There may be insurance issues for cities to deal with before starting an
Some anti-graffiti chemicals (like xylene) cause cancer in laboratory rats.
Some Words of Wisdom!
Be safe! Be Careful! Take a Friend!
Hi, I just visited your website and enjoyed it very much. However, I want
to make sure that people know how dangerous it can be to remove graffiti.
I was attacked by several pre-teen youths while attempting to remove
graffiti from a bus. When working in a public area (not your own
property) I would recommend doing the cleanup during school hours and with
at least one other person. People like to retaliate even if it's not their
- Who Do You Call?
Early on in your program get the cooperation of potential victims: utilities,
businesses, government jurisdictions, bus companies, railroads, etc. Find out
who their abatement person is so your group can call ONE person and get damage
reported and cleaned.
Arrange for the citizens in your town to call ONE number to report graffiti,
not twenty. Have a volunteer make the necessary calls to other agencies when
the victim has been determined.
Create regular graffiti patrols to record the location of new graffiti. Doing
so allows your community to establish crime time elements the police can use as
an aid to catching the vandals. Record the damage you find and turn it over to
your designated authority.
Take good notes. Keep business and utility companies appraised of their real
- The Vandal Underground: Who does
Graffiti has historically been associated with different groups of people.
These groups claim their "art" is done for different reasons. Not
every group of kids you see on the streets is a crew. Who does graffiti may
vary from town to town. What you read below is taken from discussions in
alt.graffiti, other web pages, and published materials. Your police department
can tell you what kinds of "crews" are active near you.
Graffiti vandalism is done by all races, creeds, colors, sexes, and by persons
in every socioeconomic category. The police know the profiles of vandals in the
various vandalism sub-cultures. You can't label all vandals in any particular
way. Different cultures vandalize for different reasons, may or may not be
violent, may or may not be in gangs or crews, or may or may not be going to art
school. You just don't know until you ask your local police. Don't ask the
Gangs mark their turf with monikers and messages. As gang memberships increase,
more and more gang graffiti is seen. The moniker or message in gang graffiti is
meant to threaten and intimidate others, recruit new members, advertise the
sale of drugs, and mark gang boundaries. Graffiti is a gang's major
communication tool. Gang graffiti is plentiful in many areas. This graffiti is
hate of the worst kind. There are several kinds of gangs that do graffiti.
There are racial hate groups to drug dealers that deface our communities.
There are groups called "tagging crews" who put their tags up for
"fame." These groups are vandals with little artistic ability.
Taggers often have no particular "territory" as a gang member might
have territory. It is common to see a tagger's mark over a wide area. The
vandal attempts to show style through the type and placement of the tag.
(Tagging a freeway sign is called tagging the "heavens." )
Tagging crews specialize in various kinds of targets from walls to freeway
signs to high altitude tags on the roofs of buildings. They generally paint
their crew name with their individual tag. They tag for adventure, thrills, and
to run from the cops. Tagging is the most obnoxious form of graffiti vandalism
because it is so plentiful and pervasive. It is a cancer requiring constant
surgery by abatement teams.
Taggers and tagging crews claim they are not gang members nor gangs in the
classic sense; however, tagging crews are associated with theft, vandalism, and
in some cases violence against rival crews or the public. Tagging crews in
Southern California engage in a practice called "bus bombing." Crews
get on a bus and terrorize passengers while vandalizing the bus. Crews often
steal their paints from stores or open garages in residential areas. Stores in
areas where paint thefts are common have had to lock up paints and markers.
Cities, counties, and states are responding to aerosol theft and vandalism by
outlawing the paints. (Have you noticed that the whole world is victimized by
graffiti?) There certainly is a fine line between gang membership and crew
Contrary to what the graffiti advocates would have you believe, "tagging
crews" in Los Angeles have become more violent. Tagging crews have evolved
into gangs (tag bangers) and do carry weapons and do behave like gangsters.
This is common knowledge in to police in communities where it is occurring. A
major theme of graffiti advocate deceit think is to perpetuate the myth that
graffiti is not done by gangs. Much of it is.
Not every tagger is gang member but every tagger is a vandal. They are all
Graffiti has been associated with the "hip-hop" music culture.
There are loners who enjoy their "art." These are the minority of
"artists" so celebrated on various graffiti advocate web pages. This
"artist" minority (the piecers) hold themselves morally and
artistically above the tagger, the gang banger, and the tag banger and
generally work very hard to publicize graffiti as a desired and unappreciated
art form rather than vandalism. The odd issue is that even though the
"piecer" believes him or herself superior to the tagger, the
evolution of a "piecer" includes tagging! Even Art Crimes admits
to this. Despite their roots the "piecer" is often embarrassed by the
"toy" tagger. In some areas though, tagging appears as important to
the vandal subculture as throwing up pieces. All one has to do is wander
through San Francisco on Market St. or Mission St. In the area of the art
college the tags of some of the so called famous "piecers" can be
found in hundreds of places over a large area. (When you visit this part of
our jeweled city by the Bay your gut will wrench and an anger you can't imagine
will consume you. These vandals are not who the people of San Francisco really
are.) Those defending piecers are heavily involved in deceit think or the
rationalization of vandalism as an art form. They don't tell you, or they won't
admit, that the "piecer" is also a vandal who commits senseless acts
of hatred and contempt against his/her neighbor. The vandal's pictures might be
pretty but you must remind the pretty picture vandal that the difference
between art and graffiti is PERMISSION. This is a simple
no-brainer concept they often have difficulty understanding.
Graffiti advocates will tell you that legal murals don't get tagged. This is a
bold faced lie. There is no honor among vandals. Their hate for their neighbor
is universal. Legal murals are constant victims of senseless tagging. Visitors
to San Francisco, CA can see this first hand.
Most vandal sub-cultures will defend their wanton destruction of public and
private property as an art form that we as victims just don't understand. The
vandals say that if we did understand it we wouldn't mind graffiti. The basic
trouble with this argument is that the vandals cannot articulate what it is the
rest of the world doesn't understand!
One of the best definitions of why vandals do graffiti was written by a former
"graffiti writer." Of all the reasons I have read, this one is the
most plausible : "But then I started thinking some more, and I
realized what the essence of graffiti is about, why people do it. It's not for
fame (there is none), not for girls (they don't care), not for money (ha ha),
not for recognition (you can't be yourself), and not even for competition
(what's the point) or art (because anything can be artistic). It's all about
two things: tacky youthful rebellion (to a certain point), and more so, a
desire to show that there are some things that just can't be controlled."
In a nutshell this writer says the young vandals paint out of
rebellion, anger, contempt, and hatred. What they are feeling is not art. What
they are feeling is the sensation of "getting even." They are acting
out anger and giving in to emotional, irrational, and an immature fever for
vengeance against whatever it is that bothers them. This definition gives me
hope, because I think given this definition, a root cause can be found that the
world's social organizations can deal with. Every generation has had some
unique way to trash the system as they grew up. Every generation had fringe
elements that wouldn't/couldn't be controlled! (That's what they called it
anyway.) Conformance to them is like admitting defeat. The generations of the
80's and 90's have chosen world trashing as their anti-control statement.
- What is "deceit think"
and why do I need to know about it?
I recognized very early when creating this page that the graffiti advocate used
very silly arguments to justify vandalism. I dubbed these arguments graffiti
advocate deceit think -- and then I read the book
The Affluent Rebels. In author Dan Korem's book, he talks
about how gangs deceive members into belonging and acting through false
promises. His premise is that youth (and even some adults) are easily deceived
into a belief or behavior pattern by other persons or lawless groups with
deceptive arguments about membership in the family. Victim youth who are
particularly susceptible, are those who externally, have a Missing
Protection Factor (a one-to-one relationship with someone who really
cares about the health, welfare, and activities of the child or young adult)
. The gang, or crew, or graffiti advocate perpetuate
the pain of MPF and the tragedy of graffiti by reinforcing what Dan Korem calls
the "deception" or the "internal-in-the-mind factor."
Gangs, crews, and graffiti advocates offer an illusion of belonging and family
and nothing more than an illusion.
Educators on the political far left use graffiti as a way to build manifestos
for their "truth." These people trash the system and make heroes out
of the so-called disenfranchised. They reduce graffiti vandalism to a war of
the haves and have nots, the oppressed and not so oppressed, the politics of
exclusion, vandals are scapegoats, ad nauseam. At least two of these manifestos
at two different universities use Nazi's to make various points. Reading this
stuff is truly sickening. There is a funny side. You just know the following
must be true. If a vandals trashed this professor's wall, painted graffiti on
her car, damaged her parents home, violated her peace and security, the story
would be quite different. Liberal thinkers are the first to call the police and
demand action when their space is invaded. Their public or published face is
not their private face. This kind of pathological thinking and university
support is what Art Crimes uses to defend itself. Does it make you feel better
about the tags on your walls?
You'll love this sociological manifesto of deceit posted
at Art Crimes.
The Graffiti culture makes extensive use of revisionist history techniques to
confuse the public and the media, to cover up their crimes, and build public
empathy for their acts. The media is frequently approached by sad-eyed vandals
wanting to promote a graffiti show, popular culture, or seeking to build
acceptance of their acts in other ways. The vandals NEVER tell the media
everything. Vandals also don't answer difficult questions. (Hint: reporters
please do some investigative reporting before you are overly influenced.)
When the media buys the deceit you read articles about the pretty pictures but
not how the same individuals have been trashing their communities for years.
DECEIT THINK is aimed at everyone. Avoid falling victim to revisionist history,
half truths, and the public lies of criminals. The vandal's illusions and
deceit are reinforced and improved upon in many ways including:
- Reinforcement of illegal behavior as an acceptable art form.
- Comparisons of ancient human behaviors to modern vandalism practices.
- Encouragement through capitalism and exploitation by unscrupulous
companies. (Business feeding off the "fad.") You could call this
"store front support." e.g. Advertising with graffiti as an essential
element to the message.
- Reinforcement of the illegal behavior by adults who should know better.
- Defending their own culture with an aggressive frenzy when challenged.
- Defending tagging crews as non-violent, otherwise law abiding young people
when they are not.
- Stretching rationalizations to support the behavior.
- Socioeconomic deceit. Insisting graffiti is the act of an economically
disenfranchised person while ignoring the vandals in affluent communities. The
left enjoys using graffiti as an economic argument.
- Feeding on their own momentum and deceit to give their members strength and
identity. The advocates do not let up. They represent a large and growing wave
of members that are costing this country billions of dollars every year.
- Obtaining the support of the general public and the press through deceit.
When empathy comes from a local politician, the press, a school, a teacher or
other recognized citizen, the graffiti advocate has succeeded in
confusing the public and moving their movement one more step toward
American mainstream culture. The most frequent deception is made by the
few pretty-picture vandals in the movement. Given the talent of some
of these individuals, it is very easy for the uninformed to buy into protection
of graffiti as an art form. This is how "legal walls" came into vogue
during the first wave of graffiti vandalism in the mid 80's. Cities and towns
across America were fooled into believing that vandalism would diminish with
legal walls available to the so called "graffiti artists." They were
successfully deceived. The walls never worked. Graffiti vandalism is one of the
costliest crimes, in terms of dollars, in the United States today.
- By feigning oppression and victimization when in fact the vandal is the
aggressive deviant. (Dan Korem points out that youth don't like to believe they
are susceptible to deceit. The youth have "bought the lie" as Dan
puts it and must defend their conscious decision to be a part of the culture at
- Using emotional rather than rational argument to defend the graffiti cause
and deceive the world. When you never have to grow up, when all you have to do
is support a deviant life style because it makes you feel less pain for
whatever life situation you happen to be in, and to hell with the rest of the
world, you remain in the graffiti culture. All other deceitful encouragements
aside, the decision to belong in the graffiti culture rests personally with
each vandal. To grow up and out of the culture the vandal must acknowledge that
vandalism is a hateful, spiteful activity. Scarring communities with ugliness
is not a life time pursuit. Dan Korem does a better job of describing this when
he says in his book on page 250, " If I am a deceiver I want to find
someone in pain who is not honestly confronting or dealing with pain. And I
want to find someone who has internal pain, like from a troubled home. I'm not
looking for someone who simply has a sprained ankle."
- Lies. Telling only the story they want you to hear.
A Good Example of Deceit
See this graffiti-advocate
site at the American Institute for Learning ail.org (link and URL no longer
working)in Austin, Texas. (Partially funded by the tax payers of Austin
through the City of Austin.) The site does the following things to promote
vandalism as an art form:
- Promoting other major graffiti advocate sites on the net
including Art Crimes. A clear absence of community and government links that
detail why vandalism is against the law and victimizes others.
- Refers to graffiti as urban art when in fact
graffiti is urban vandalism. Graffiti is symptomatic of neighborhoods that no
longer can cope or care.
- Claims people fear what they don't understand.
Ask them what we don't understand! We know vandalism when we see it.
- After advocating graffiti as an art form, the
writer claims 85-90% of graffiti is vandalism then elevates pretty picture
vandalism to a cult level.
- Claims that graffiti does not get the credit
it deserves because the art is unusual, yet there is no acknowledgment the act
- Kids that grow up in the Hip Hop scene
appreciate graffiti. The inference is of course that it should be appreciated
because young people drawn to vandalism appreciate it.
- Claims that all artists want is respect and
that graffiti artists will be respected in the community when in fact these
vandals are reviled.
- These pages are supported by an apparent
social institution that ought to know better.
While this site may no longer be around you can
see similar attitudes in other sites that defend vandalism.
- Are there civilized
The Monday, December 18, 1995 issue of Wall Street Journal (Western Edition,
VOL. CXXXIII, No. 118) carried an excellent article entitled "There Are No
Civilized Crimes." written by Richard
Romley, the Maricopa County Arizona Attorney. (Forwarded to
me by then X-MAN of the Pioneer Ford Community Program in Phoenix, Az.)
Romley said in this article, "The acceptance of
"trivial" crime as normal is reflected by the proliferation of
graffiti vandalism." Romley recognized in this article a concept
I have been trying to put into words in this collection of graffiti
information. He goes on to say, "How we define deviance ultimately
determines our reaction to it and the standards of conduct we learn to accept.
Individually and collectively, society seems to have grown dangerously
accustomed to recognizing as deviant only the extreme abnormalities of human
behavior." Romley said that Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan defined this
trend as "defining deviancy down." What people view as acceptable
today includes criminal behavior that has been defined down. Graffiti
vandalism is one of those behaviors! In Romley's view, "We
make a grave mistake when we begin to regard the less vivid expressions of
aberrant behavior as acceptable examples of "civilized" crime.
This is perhaps the single most important reason the anti-graffiti
groups across the U.S.A. are as concerned and as vocal as they are about
The graffiti advocates on the Net, and in the world at large, are working hard
to trivialize graffiti vandalism even in the face of growing numbers of victims
and in the tremendous cost to this nation in dollars. Graffiti advocates view
graffiti as an artistic means of self expression. The "expression"
has a sincere message according to the graffiti advocate. They believe the
world should want to see what these "artists" paint where ever these
"artists" choose to paint. This is a weird free-speech concept.
Imagine being allowed to exercise your right to free speech at great personal
expense to others. Romley disagrees with the graffiti advocate point of view as
do I when he says, "But I do not view the willful destruction of
another's sense of security as an acceptable means of self fulfillment or rite
of passage." Graffiti is not an acceptable form of self
expression even if you truly believe that's what the vandal's intent is. (I
think expression is just another obfuscation argument to cover up what really
motivates the activity.) The graffiti vandal treads heavily on the
rights of others. When we allow graffiti to remain we permit the true
character of a neighborhood to be hidden under the painted hatred and contempt
of the vandal. When we don't take graffiti seriously our world changes for the
worse. Romley describes graffiti laden areas as locations where we "quit
living, shopping, and driving." This has been proven true over and over
again but the graffiti advocates can't and won't deal with this issue because
they know they have no leg to stand on. As one of the major contributors of Art
Crimes, said in a Usenet posting, graffiti advocates "know how easy it is
to be so right, about how graffiti is so wrong." When graffiti is
ignored, it becomes an engraved invitation to other criminals that chaos reigns
supreme and crime is tolerated." So much for graffiti as a
Graffiti isn't funny, it isn't cool, it isn't art. The act is criminal
and it is not civilized. Graffiti is a crime. It is a crime, yet you
read everywhere on the net that those of us who acknowledge the illegality of
graffiti are somehow cruel in our attitudes or maintain deviant and distorted
views about art, freedom of expression, or the rights of others in general. In
my view, the growing offense by the graffiti advocates is a direct effort to
turn graffiti into a civilized crime. A crime that they hope will be tolerated
and ignored. My sadness and concern is that many people in responsible
positions in the media and public service already lean this way. I hear it
spoken in the premisesof their questions when I am interviewed about this page.
The graffiti advocate's viewpoint has taken hold and enjoys the praise and
attention of some. The graffiti advocates and their defenders object
strenuously to viewpoints that return us all to reality. The anti-graffiti
cause threatens the vandal's ease of movement that he/she is enjoying in some
communities and offends the sensitivities and politics of those who come out in
defense of the vandal's pretty pictures. All one has to do is read the four and
five star ratings that graffiti advocate web sites have received for creatively
displaying the work of vandals.
To many web reviewers graffiti is cool, in vogue, hip, and even correct. The
anti-graffiti pages are described as created
by angry men, (see the Excite Review of An Anti-Graffiti Web
Page. Nice score but they missed the point! Article no longer available in
2008.) right wing, weird militia type
psychos(link to haverford.edu no longer working) ,
capitalistic pigs, or narcs. No there are no civilized crimes and yes we do
need to define deviancy correctly in America. It is being defined for us by
advocates of pretty pictures on behalf of the vandals who scrawled them there.
- Given the aggressive reinforcement of the illusion of graffiti as an art
form, it is becoming increasingly necessary for the world to recognize and
stand up against graffiti advocate deceit and defining deviancy down. It is
time to see through the illusions and focus our attention on the real intent of
the deceitful arguments in favor of vandalism. The desecration of our
communities by a sub-cultural fringe element is not acceptable. We
must fan away the "deceit think" smoke screens and recognize
the graffiti advocate's control over our youth and the influence they have begun to have on their new
defenders. The graffiti advocates are influencing younger
generations that are growing up seeing vandals as role models and indeed this
is an underlying intent expressed in some graffiti advocate videos I have seen.
The solution is to say you will not accept it anymore. This madness
must end. Take a stand against graffiti vandalism in your community. Don't
trivialize the crime. Don't define it down. Don't give in.
Do you need to to see deceit think in action? There are some very good deceit
think writings on the net. An article
entitled, Eradicating the Stain: Graffiti and Advertising In Our Public Spaces
by Jeremiah Luna, from Bad Subjects, Issue #20, April 1995
(Carnegie Mellon University English Department server.
) declared the anti-graffiti movement is similar to the Nazis
party. Sad but true. (Link to article taken down.)You really do need to
read this trash in order to get an understanding of how the graffiti advocate
views your rights and your property. Luna describes the anti-graffiti
movement as being part of an "anti-graffiti police state." Go figure.
Perhaps he has never been a graffiti victim? Whatever the reason, this single
article referenced by the Art Crimes web site at Georgia Tech University will
really open your eyes. A United States University web site wants you to read
this article. The same University that is playing a significant role in the
Olympics for 1996. How terribly sad. You can see though that the folks at Art
Crimes do know the cost of graffiti. See this article at their web site
entitled: Hard Hitting Modern Perspective on Hip Hop Graffiti This
article is © copyright 1996 Kevin Element Here is a
list of everyone who has contributed to the success of Art Crimes as listed by
Art Crimes on their Special Thankspage.
In the 2000's graffiti took on a new meaning to some law
enforecement agencies. Graffiti is defined as a "quality of life"
crime. Without warning our greatest ally in the fight against graffiti
vandalism, the graffiti cop, defined grtaffiti deviants down based entirely on
the visual effects of the graffiti vandalism. Vandals are are now a form of
"social criminal." This was done as a way to help law enforcement
prioritize their response to criminal activity based on their budgets for
certain types of crimes. The anti-graffiti activist is now fighting to be heard
in public and to be taken seriously by some law enforcement agencies. The
trouble with the logic is that graffiti costs the public and business perhaps
billions every year. Some social crime, eh? When your local law enforcement
agency defines graffiti vandalism down as a social crime you as the
anti-graffiti advocate need to work even harder to make sure law enforcement
does its part. One excellent way to do this is to make sure your local police
are members of the NoGraf list at NoGraffiti.com. SOme of the finest graffiti
cops around the world are members.
- What about the graffiti
advocates claims of censorship?
Graffiti advocates claim graffiti is art and a form of free expression. By
definition though, graffiti is a crime. The graffiti advocates and those of us
who are against vandalism believe differently about the pretty pictures or tags
that appear on the city walls. Since the graffiti advocates actively trivialize
the tragedy of graffiti hoping that graffiti will become a
"civilized" activity, one ploy to get sympathy for their cause is to
cry foul and claim censorship. Remember that graffiti by definition is illegal.
One can assume that since graffiti is illegal the the placement or removal
of the graffiti is within the VICTIM's RIGHTS. Censorship is a deceitful
tactic used to argue in favor of graffiti. When you hear a graffiti advocate
spout deceit-think and claims of censorship, you have to stop and wonder what
possesses such a person. Just what is their agenda? Their agenda is to publicly
trivialize your objection to the crime.
In July of 1997 I was sent the following email after more than one person
expressed concern that a Colorado High School had a graffiti advocate page.
Without communicating with me the school district took the page down. I think
it was a good decision. Someone, perhaps a teacher or a child author of the
page said in the email I received:
"You write - The New Vista High School graffiti advocate site is listed on
the notorious Art Crimes web. I question whether the school district really
appreciates this kind of association?
The message at the site now reads (as of 7/24/97) "We're sorry. This page
has been taken down due to content reasons. The author will be contacted about
"cleaning up" the pages as per instructions from higher-ups.
As you pass judgement on what I may wish to view or read or write, I hope you
rest easily. Today, my freedoms are being taken away, be assured yours will be
Now consider his logic. as you read how this city public works manager in
Rockford, Illinois reacted to this message:
"Freedom? This kid doesn't know the meaning of freedom! I wish I could
introduce him to Mrs. Mott (and others like her), here in Rockford, an 80-year
old widow with fingers bent and locked with the effects of arthritis. Mrs. Mott
thought she had the freedom of having a white garage, until the gangs covered
it with their graffiti. She thought she had the freedom to live peacefully in
her home with her beloved dog, until the gangs, noticing that she had called
the police about the garage, disemboweled the cat from across the street,
painted it the gang colors, and hung it in Mrs. Mott's tree. Just because this
kid can spit out the word "freedom" does not mean he has any concept
of its meaning. Parrots can say "freedom". I'm sorry if I sound
angry. I am not. I am furious!!..."
So perhaps the criminal mind or the confused mind does not understand that
freedom is not an absolute guarantee that aberrant behavior is protected at the
expense of others. Society and schools recognize that celebrating criminal
behavior on web pages contributes to the perpetuation of that behavior in the
name of that school. This is a free country and we take pride in our freedom.
We are also, as Americans, proud of our stand against crime and the behaviors
that victimize others. Yes, the school has decided that it will not publish
material that is not acceptable reading by its standards. The school has also
indirectly said through its action that it will not tolerate a criminal
celebration on school servers by a confused misguided minority of students that
find victimizing others good reading. Those students will have to go elsewhere
to feed their need.
Well isn't the act of speaking against graffiti on the net
- No. I argue that public support of vandalism as akin to yelling fire in a
public theatre. When anti-graffiti activists speak out against vandalism we do
so with the confidence that we are on the side of law and keeping the graffiti
victim's rights in mind. The criminal graffiti vandal has no right to vandalize
another's property. The vandal has no right to victimize others. I believe that
publicly broadcasting one's support of a crime contributes to the continued
success of the crime. That is, the publishing of some materials has serious
secondary deleterious effects. A learning institution has a moral obligation to
see both sides of an issue but it has no right to contribute to the folk lore
and aberrant culture of the criminal or encourage continued criminal behavior
intentionally or unintentionally. Because we live in America we have to
tolerate poor judgement when no law applies. Certainly if real
censorship existed Art Crimes and its drone pages would have been history long
ago. Someone saw educational value behind Art Crimes that frankly
escaped me. If Georgia Tech University decided not to embellish crime in this
fashion they could certainly discuss it in class or deal with it locally on
their intra-net. The messages of the graffiti advocates are frequently of a
threatening nature. Their attitude when confronted about their beliefs is one
of fight or flight. When they go public they are suddenly faced with criticism.
That's not something they enjoy so again a ploy that feigns censorship is used.
Their behavior is predictable. The graffiti advocate will obfuscate the central
issue of vandalism and victimization by re-directing public attention to an
unrelated subject - censorship. Graffiti advocates are among the worst of
censors. Where on their web pages are victims given the opportunity to speak?
What are secondary effects?
- "Secondary effect" is a term frequently applied to activities, or
behaviors to define the real meaning of those behaviors or the real effects of
the activities on the community. As an example, communities are often faced
with complicated issues involving the placement of adult book stores, loud
bars, or even ball fields where kids play soccer and baseball. The secondary
effects of some adult book stores include prostitution, drugs, open sexual
solicitation, illicit sexual behavior in the bushes close to the store etc. The
point is, a certain activity, or action, or gathering point attracts or
promotes other raunchy undesirable behavior. In the case of the ball fields,
neighbors can feel victimized by the endless noise associated with hearing
game, after game. The ball field lights may keep them awake. Every activity has
some secondary effects and the secondary effects of a particular activity may
be more serious than another. I believe the secondary effect of publishing
graffiti advocate web pages is to perpetuate the tragedy of the crime.
Graffiti is not a victimless crime. Creating an advocate page
says that you don't care how the picture got there, how much it cost the victim
to clean up, how the activity eventually destroyed an entire neighborhood, or
how it keeps passengers out of the subway. The list goes on and on.
Wasn't the elimination of "legal walls" or "ignored
- Hardly. The graffiti advocate won a battle years ago when some communities
caved in to their pressure and provided the vandals places to paint with the
mutual understanding the legal walls were the only places they could and would
paint. It didn't work. Vandalism increased in the immediate area by incredible
amounts. When you don't live up to an agreement you lose privileges. It is that
simple. This concept goes back to child hood for most of us. (So what did
you do when your teacher took the ball away or your mother sent you to your
room? ) Censorship is again a disguised ploy for empathy and nothing more.
It is an utterly irresponsible claim made emotionally without presence of mind.
It is illogical and not befitting the honor of an American educational
institution or an American who was born in to freedom.
- What about joining an
- There are a few things you should consider before joining any organization
that purports to provide you with anything, be it knowledge, experience, or a
place to network with others. A number of off-the-wall groups have appeared on
the Internet over the years. Graffiti removal is now popular with many
volunteer organizations and cities. Unscrupulous people take your money
claiming to provide helpful services and and actually provide little or nothing
in return. It is a sad state of affairs but this happens in virtually every
volunteer activity. In the late 90's you found some organizations touting
questionable products and services. There are some organizations that do a
great job and accomplish their purpose, and there are others that simply take
advantage. Thankfully now in the 2000's many very-good graffiti removal
services are now available and some community anti-graffiti programs have
matured into excellent programs. The need for external anti-graffiti programs
(other than my favorite not-for-profit the NoGraf Network) has diminished.
Consider the following before you join:
- Does the organization provide anything for your membership or are they just
taking your money? This may seem rather obvious, but people have been taken by
slick mailings and loud promisees.
- Expect a regular newsletter at an absolute minimum. A large organization
should expect to do a monthly newsletter of at least 6 to 8 pages. If you never
hear from the group again you have lost your cash. Caveat emptor.
- What is it that you expect from your membership and can this organization
actually help? What do you expect to receive in return and will it benefit you?
Will the organization you are considering membership in help you answer these
- Graffiti abatement is a localized activity. The approach one group takes
toward the problem can be completely different from another and these
approaches are often based on local community political, social, and business
concerns. Any organization you contract with or join should be interested in
hearing about your specific circumstances. Walk away if they are selling one
point of view. (Note I don't mean the vendors of abatement products. It is up
to you to decide whether an abatement product fits in to your program. Most
reputable vendors WILL listen to your concerns and try to tailor the sale of
their product to your circumstances. Reputable vendors know the value of
neighborhood organizations and will do their best not to interfere or be the
cause of any interest conflicts. vendors that don't seem to care don't deserve
- When the group you join is out town or out of state, decide (based on what
you get for membership) , whether the membership is valuable.
- The information you receive from the group should help you make better
decisions about your own program.
- The information you receive should help educate you on global abatement
- The information you receive should be full of references to other abatement
programs and the success or failure of those programs.
- The information you receive should discuss the products available to
volunteers and abatement professionals BY NAME. While you might not expect a
non-profit organization to endorse one product over another the group CAN
present the technical findings of the membership without fear of stepping on
any toes. Vendors APPRECIATE this kind of feed back.
- Avoid sending money to a group that uses the money to further their own
point of view UNLESS you also believe in that point of view. Some groups
collect monies to further their own agenda and you may only get periodic
reports as to how successful they have been. In terms of meeting a local
abatement effort membership in such a group should have excellent global
political or social benefits otherwise save your money.
- A condition of membership should not mean that the organization is
permitted to ride on the wave of your own success. Joining does not imply
endorsement of the group. An endorsement must come from you and it is your
decision not anyone else's.
- Consider the leaders of the group. Do they have standing? Have they a
reputation for excellence or are the leaders unknown to you? An organization
with hidden leaders may have an ulterior motive. Worse yet, is the group run by
ego's or hot heads with their own agenda? Even in a local volunteer group, some
volunteer leaders can emerge as dominant, demanding, and uncooperative unless
you always agree with them. National organizations are no different. Ask
around. talk to others. Decide for yourself whether you should join based on
who leads the organization.
- Is the organization you are considering actually selling something else to
members, like insurance, travel discounts, or other benefits you might find in
the weekly grocery section of your newspaper. If they are, they are not
interested in graffiti abatement, only your money.
- Will the organization allow you to exercise your right to discuss any
aspect of the graffiti problem? Are you asked not to do anything specific? Ask
before you join. You may find that the group's leadership does not appreciate
your point of view. Non-profit groups especially should expect that members
will have the freedom to speak as they please.
- Will product vendors be asked to speak or contribute to a newsletter? The
vendors have valuable insight and deserve the opportunity to tell you about
their product without the group feeling like it has endorsed one product over
another. The worry over product endorsement is handled simply by encouraging
all vendors to submit information to the group and for the individuals of the
group to make up their own minds. Vendors should be allowed to take part in
meetings and conferences and be encouraged to pay for booth space and
contribute door prizes or other services. The organization should welcome the
commercial support. In the world of abatement you will find many commercial
organizations getting involved to various degrees. Involving business in social
and community concerns is a necessary part of the abatement effort since
EVERYONE is a graffiti victim. Businesses that operate abatement programs
should be seen as respected members of the group and have the same standing of
any other member. When the group you are considering seems to worry too much
about how they will be perceived if vendors or commercial enterprises are
involved with the group be cautious about joining. Expect a rational reason for
excluding business, because I can't think of one. Involving business is
absolutely necessary to the success of any abatement program or group. National
abatement groups should even encourage a vendor representative to sit on their
Board of Directors! (This organizational model is very common.) And be
reasonable about what you can expect from business! Just because someone owns a
business does not mean they can afford to give thousands of dollars to your
group. Be happy with volunteers and loans of equipment or services.
- Consider starting a local abatement group where many volunteer groups can
attend meetings and learn via a newsletter about local issues. This may be all
you need. Local groups can hold annual volunteer appreciation conferences. The
finest example of any group like this is the anti-graffiti organization in the
City of San Jose, CA.
- Any group you join should be made up primarily of community groups, homes
associations, and private persons interested in graffiti abatement. Conferences
should have inexpensive booths where neighborhood groups can show off their
abatement programs. This means that prices for participation in conferences or
various levels of membership should reflect the income of those potential
members. If you think you might be paying too much, you probably are.
- Be wary of a wolf in sheep's clothing. Some industry or political
representatives may have a vested interest or personal preference in
controlling responses to public problems. (In particular, some paint
companies have a vested interest in preventing ordinances that require lock-up
of aerosol paints sold by their distributors.) Their response may not be in
the best interest of the community. In order for graffiti abatement to work
everyone in the community must work together honestly and without pretense. The
community must find the approach that works for them and stick to it. Ask any
new organization's directors who they work for and why they are doing what they
are doing. Where does their funding come from? Whose interests have they
supported or represented in the past? What is their political motivation?
- How do the vandal's parents feel?
What do they know?
- I received a very sad but revealing letter from the parent of a 25 year old
graffiti vandal in a major American city. here is what his dad said about his
son and the An Anti-Graffiti Web page:
"Dear Doug, You are RIGHT! As the parent of a 25 year old graffiti addict,
I can say I`ve experienced two sides of this moronic, childish vandalism. My
property has been hit a few times, but now a "town- watch" group
keeps an eye on things. My son, who is out of town these days due to a warrant
for his arrest, has argued PRO graffiti, and at other times, admitted that it
was like an obsession, and that the risk of getting caught provided a
"high" for him. Years ago, we took him to a shrink, who basically
gave us a "boys will be boys" speech. One
of his all time great achievements was having the [major metropolitan
newspaper] print his "work" on their front page. He was in heaven!
Unfortunately, I fear he may end up in heaven or elsewhere
prematurely, as he and his fellow vandals love to scale difficult obstacles to
place their scrawlings up high, where they`ll be noticed. One thing my son did
tell me which I believe is true: if we remove the graffiti as soon as possible
(IMMEDIATELY) then the thrill is gone, and we must do that repeatedly until the
little jerks get frustrated and go elsewhere. Keep up the fine work, and don`t
let the vandals get you down. Best Wishes"
- Why is graffiti on the Internet
so abhorrent to the anti-graffiti activist?
- The graffiti web sites (graffiti galleries & graffiti supply
mail-order houses) are key components of the hip-hop graffiti culture. This
culture is a "group", and psychologists, in describing the dynamics
of any group, have developed a model called the "group dynamics
engine." This group dynamics engine has four components:
- (2) sentiment
- (3) consensus
- (4) and norms
These four dynamics can be visualized in four boxes, as processes, linked by
clockwise arrows, where:
(1) interaction begets sentiment,
- (2) which begets consensus
- (3) which begets norms (Deviance defined down)
- (4) which influences interaction ... and then the next round of the
This "engine" is facilitated by the graffiti web sites, and
ultimately results in behavior, which includes graffiti on walls. Because of
this, anti-graffiti activists consider the graffiti-advocate web sites to be as
abhorrent as graffiti vandalism, and perhaps more so. This abhorrence includes
emotions like, shock, outrage, and acute disbelief when a major university or
other educational institution like Georgia Tech that gave server space until
1999 to the graffiti advocates. Free speech was not intended by our fore
fathers to be used as a smoke screen for advocating cult-like criminal
behavior. Graffiti is a behavior that has VICTIMS, something the administration
of Georgia Tech completely over looked. The graffiti advocates don't talk about
the billions of dollars lost every year or the emotional ruin a victim
experiences when their property is destroyed by the graffiti vandals. All of
that is overlooked on the graffiti advocate sites in order to foster and
protect and achieve notoriety for their group dynamics. The group dynamics of a
criminal organization. As the Internet grew and social networking websites
developed suddenly any vandal had an Internet location to put up his or her
vandalism for all to see. What began on a few graffiti advocate sites sponsored
in 1995 has now greatly expanded worldwide. Parents of children living at home,
you now have an obligation to know what social networking sites your child uses
and what content he or she ads to that site. When you see graffiti you should
be asking questions. The Internet culture of the graffiti vandal has changed
and expanded between 1995 and 2008. It is up to you to intervene with your
child before the police do. The police are looking for graffiti vandals on the
Internet as well.
Some indications that your child may be a tagger
- Your child stays out until early morning or all night.
- Your child frequently wears a large back pack or baggy pants. Clothing may
be paint stained. Packs and loose clothing can be used to hold paint cans or
carry graffiti tools.
- Your child carries tools used for etching glass like hole punches, rocks,
glass cutters, screw drivers, awls, metal scribes or other sharp object. (Your
child may not be able to explain exactly why he or she has this in their
- Your child has taken up the hobby of ink making.
- Your child has large quantities of magic markers, shoe polish containers,
or other devices used for drawing.
- Your child sleeps during the day and is active outdoors at night.
- Your child has paint on the tips of his/her fingers.
- Your child frequently has permanent marker stains on his/her hands.
- Your child has graffiti magazines, flyers, a "piece book," or
other portfolio of tags.
- Your child possesses large quantities of "My Name Is" stickers or
other large stickers used for "sticker tagging."
- Your child is in possession of graffiti paraphernalia such as markers,
etching tools, spray paint, bug spray and starch cans. The bug spray cans are
used to make tags that will only show up in the rain.
- Your child is in the age group statistically associated with tagging, ages
12-18 (sometimes older).
- Your child has graffiti displays or tags on clothing, binders, backpacks,
and the underside of the bill of their hat.
- Tags you see on the walls of your neighborhood are seen on your child's
walls, books, and clothing.
- Your child is frequently deceitful about his/her activities.
- Your child has quantities of paint in cans but does not have the income to
- Your child associates with other children with the traits described above.
- Your child's Internet web browser has bookmarks to graffiti advocate web
- Your child has photographs of graffiti and tags on walls that look familiar
- Your child actively reads the alt.graffiti newsgroup.
Remember that taggers come from every race, religion,
social group, as well as from every socioeconomic status.
"Profile of a Tagger," taken in part from
"The Walls of San Jose" newsletter, published by the
of San Jose, California, Parks Recreation & Neighborhood Services,
Anti-Graffiti Program, Issue No. 9, Winter 1997. The program's address is
Anti-Graffiti Program, c/o Director, 501 Vine Street, San Jose, CA 95110.
the Source for Anti-Graffiti Information.
Graffiti Removal Products
Worlds Best Graffiti Removal
Covert Cameras - Database
Covert Cameras GRIP ShelCosmetics.com
NoGraffiti.com General Supporters
NoGraf.net Tony's Auto Michelle Fryer
NoGraffiti.org Graffiti Trade Show ChpForums.com
NoGraf.us Granite Falls Police
Before you cover it up or remove it, track the
Visit the Blue Archer Graffiti Tracking System page for more
How do you remove graffiti in your area? Tell us! I can
feel another abatement web page coming.