Many people consider graffiti and street art the same - they are not.

Street art is designed to be viewed by everyone and engage anyone who sees it.  Typical graffiti is only meant to be interpreted by other graffitists.Taggers love to see their name or signatures in highly visible places for extended periods of time.  It’s easy notoriety without having to have any skills.  Hard-to-reach places also provide a component of danger and physical risk, contributing to the vandal's gratification and reputation.  Some tagger graffiti involve a creative expression, providing a source of great pride. Most taggers seek acclamation and recognition of their graffiti and they attach status to having their work seen.  Because recognition is so important, removing graffiti quickly helps deter this type of vandal from repeating their tagging process in that location. Some graffitists say that tagging is addicting, giving them a rush, instant gratification or providing a platform to make a statement about their own existence.  Recently a 28-year-old Miami man made national news after he fell to his death while tagging a sign on the Palmetto Expressway. In 1997, one prolific Seattle tagger severed a foot while tagging a train. But that didn’t curb his vandalism. Records show he pleaded guilty for tagging again in 1999 and 2000.Graffiti is becoming a bigger problem, and the mass media, including movies and websites glamorizing or promoting graffiti as an acceptable form of urban street art, have contributed to its spread.  In fact, Time magazine selected the British artist Banksy—graffiti master, painter, activist, filmmaker and all-purpose provocateur—for its list of the world’s 100 most influential people in 2010, he was in the company of Barack Obama, Steve Jobs and Lady Gaga.

Graffiti breeds fear and frustration in the community.  Gangs mark their turf and leave messages involving activities within the gang through graffiti, threaten violence, boast of achievements, honor slain members, and insult or taunt other gangs.  One of the worst and hurtful things that graffiti tagging can be used for is expressing racist views.

There are also huge public costs associated with graffiti: it is estimated $12 billion a year is spent cleaning up graffiti in the United States.

For many people, the presence of graffiti implies law enforcement’s failure to secure communities and control lawbreakers.  Graffiti is estimated to negatively affect property values by as much as 15%.  The presence of Graffiti often leads to more frequent and serious crimes.  Additionally, graffiti adversely affects business. Many associate graffiti with the general decline of an area. Merchants often lose business because customers feel the neighborhood or shopping area is no longer safe with heightened fear of gang activity.

Vandal-proofing graffiti-prone locations.

Graffiti offenders can be impeded by vandal-proofing vulnerable surfaces in susceptible areas.  Anti-graffiti coverings and coatings make surfaces easy to clean, difficult to write on, or both.  Wash-off coatings of wax or silicone protect walls, but when hot water is applied, these coatings break down, allowing graffiti to sluff off and must be reapplied.  Dark or colorful surfaces make graffiti less visible, and textured surfaces are not attractive targets for graffiti, as they obscure legibility.

Removing Graffiti.

The ParkingZone has an environmentally safe, natural cleaner for removing graffiti. The Graffiti Remover Starter Pack includes a bottle of Safety One and Safety Two Graffiti Remover, disposable gloves, and spray tops. These time-tested formulas are made of powerful degreasers and deodorizers which are specially blended to outperform conventional and aerosol graffiti removers.

Safety One is a multipurpose concentrate that emulsifies inks, greases, oil/latex based paints, fats and oils from coated/painted surfaces. Safety Two cleans more porous surfaces including concrete, brick, tile, etc. Both contain a strong, natural cleaning extract that leaves behind a pleasant, citrus fragrance. They are great for use in outdoor and indoor applications with good ventilation.

In conclusion

In some instances, graffiti can be complex pictures or masterpieces, but if they are not authorized, they are a community’s blight.  Solicited and commissioned murals can inspire and help bring a community together through public art projects.  In our own “turf”, we want to be respected and have our neighborhood and community respected as well.

The ParkingZone is proud to supply the parking industry with the best products available. Call us at 1-800-292-7275 ext. 201 or message us online if you have any questions about your needs and challenges. We are available from 8am to 5pm PST, Monday through Friday.

Photo Credit: J.S. Collard Design - Vancouver, WA
Photo Credit: nss magazine
Illustration Credit: J.S. Collard Design