How does graffiti affect a community?
Graffiti contributes to reduced retail sales, a decline in property values, and citizen fear. A business littered with graffiti is less likely to be patronized. Citizens feel less safe and secure entering a storefront where graffiti is present.
How can a business prevent graffiti?
Make every effort to keep the appearance of a facility clean and neat. Littered parking lots, graffiti, broken fences, overgrown landscaping, and poor lighting all send a message to vandals that business owners are not attentive or do not care about the business.
Rapid and continual removal of graffiti is the best way for businesses and commercial property owners to protect the image of their street and preserve customers sense of security. Studies show that removal within 24 hours to 48 hours results in a nearly zero rate of reoccurrence.
Incorporate shrubs, thorny plants, and vines to restrict vandal access. Add or improve lighting around the building to promote natural surveillance. Use fences, controlled entrance and exits, rails, and other barriers that discourage through traffic. Limit access to roofs by moving dumpsters away from walls and covering drainpipes to prevent vandals from scaling them.
Step up security
- Install some type of security camera.
- Organize a “Business Watch” with nearby merchants to keep tabs on a business area. Businesses may want to employ security personnel to monitor property.
- Employ graffiti resistant materials or coatings on a chronically hit.
Work with the community
- Mount a community paint brush mural on a chronically hit wall.
- Work with other merchants to organize and contribute to a “paint ” Paints, rollers, brushes, and other equipment from the bank are “borrowed” as needed. Ensure safe and environmentally appropriate storage of paint.
- Refrain from using graffiti images in ads or promoting graffiti in any way.
What should a business do if it’s hit with graffiti?
- Report. Contact the police to report graffiti vandalism using a non-emergency number. Some cities have an 800 number for reporting graffiti. Make sure police complete an incident report, a common requirement of insurance companies.
- Identify. Work with local authorities to identify if the graffiti is being done by taggers or gangs.
- Document. Take a picture of the graffiti before it is removed. Photographs will assist law enforcement in their investigation.
- Remove. Remove graffiti promptly and completely.
How should graffiti be removed?
To select the appropriate method for graffiti removal, consider the surface, access, costs, and any local restrictions. Removal methods may include:
- Paint out – on painted surfaces, painting over graffiti is a low-cost removal method. Be sure to color match the paint to the surface. A patchwork of paint or a large block of different color paint is an ideal canvas and will invite more graffiti.
- Chemical removal – this method employs some type of solvent to remove graffiti.
- Power washing – this removes graffiti by applying water, usually hot, under pressure. Power washing may also be used after applying a paint solvent to the graffiti area. An abrasive, such as baking soda or fine sand, may also be added to the water to remove a thin layer of the surface, and with it, the graffiti.
Consider pooling resources with other merchants and together contract with a company that specializes in graffiti removal. This will encourage quick and appropriate removal.