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Graffiti is not art it is vandalism.

What is Graffiti?

Graffiti is any unauthorized marking such as an initial, slogan, or drawing, written, spray-painted, or sketched on public or private property such as on a lamp post, wall of a building.  Not all graffiti is gang related, but all graffiti is vandalism.

Problems with Graffiti

Graffiti harms all community members.  If you know someone who owns a restaurant, hair shop, or any other retail you are directly harming them when you graffiti their property.  Although you may not know the person, they are still members of a community and deserve respect. It wouldn’t be cool if your house was tagged, so it is not cool when you tag someone else’s property.

Many committing vandalism see graffiti as a small problem, but truly graffiti is a gateway crime that leads to other illegal activities and can start those involved in a life of crime.  Graffiti can lead to violence and rivalry and harms all members within the community. It starts with a finger on the spray can then leads to the finger on a trigger of a gun that lands you in prison. Graffiti also costs money.

Graffiti contributes to reduced retail sales and declines in property value. That costs the community money and gives the perception of gang activity.

Graffiti costs your family and friends as tax-payers lots of money.  Those tax dollars could be spent on a variety of other fun things like parks, soccer fields, art programs, school funding and more useful projects.

Fast Facts

  • Graffiti constitutes over 1/3 of property vandalism making at a cost of $12 Billion annually to remove in the U.S.( According to the 2010 U.S. Department of Justice statistics)
  • Graffiti cleanup takes a big chunk out of municipal budgets. The City of Denver alone spends about $2 million dollars a year to clean up graffiti and RTD spends about $1 million.
  • About 80% of graffiti is “tagger” graffiti.  Nationally, gang graffiti makes up about 10% of graffiti.
  • There are four types of graffiti; tagger graffiti, gang graffiti, hate messages and generic
  • Graffiti encourages littering, loitering and more graffiti and opportunities to breed more crime.

But I want to express myself!

Some criminals claim they just want to express themselves and create an artistic piece.  If you or a friend feels the need to express yourself join a club or program that provides a designated artistic space.

Enforcement of graffiti laws may include any or all of the following:

  • Fines and restitution for graffiti markings.

 What would your family do if they had to pay court fees, tickets, and fines up to $5,000?

  • Suspended motor vehicle privileges.

How cool will you be when you can’t drive, but your friends can?

  • Arrest and imprisonment.

Are you prepared to do the time for the crime?

  • Graffiti misdemeanors being stacked to allow for a felony conviction.

 Felony record before you can legally vote how will that record look to employers?

What you can do!

You may ask what you can do to stop graffiti or help a friend.  There are always options and you have the power to choose what you want to do.

  • Some things to keep in mind, when it comes to graffiti are that the vandals most often will not hit a spot that is covered with plants. Plants also offer a prettier sight and help improve a community image and raises values.  Which would you rather look at, some ugly scribble or flowering blossoms and greenery?  Encourage your school or community to start a program where plants are planted in specific areas to discourage graffiti.
  • In some cases painted murals help prevent re-occurring graffiti.  Organize or promote mural projects within your schools and community, in areas that have a constant issue.
  • Also agencies are working hard to identify tags and graffiti criminals.  However, without a report nothing can be done.  So make sure every time you see a tag or witness a crime report it to local authorities.  If you want to remain anonymous report the information to Crime Stoppers!

  • :: Crime Stoppers Stats ::

    Arrests: 648,199
    Cases Cleared: 986,938
    Awarded Amount: $100,805,155

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