Graffiti Fact Sheet

What is Graffiti?

Graffiti, sometimes referred to as “tagging”, is a form of vandalism or defacement of public or private property. It is the most common type of property vandalism (35%) according to statistics from the Bureau of Justice.

The vast majority of the increase in graffiti vandalism is the result of "tagging," committed by juvenile vandals with the primary objective being peer recognition.  Taggers are not necessarily gang members, and come from all neighborhoods of the city.

Graffiti Vandalism

Graffiti is not simply a maintenance problem, but a complex social problem as well. Most graffiti vandalism is caused by minors in the late-night or early morning hours. Some graffiti is the product of gang activity, and is used to identify territories, indicate associations or conflicts between gang members, or promote the sale of illegal drugs.

 

Graffiti
Graffiti

 

 

How Does Graffiti Impact You?

Graffiti that does not get removed promptly sends the signal that nobody cares, attracting other forms of crime and street delinquency to a neighborhood.  The U.S. Department of Justice reports that “graffiti contributes to lost revenue associated with reduced ridership on transit systems, reduced retail sales and declines in property value.”  The appearance of graffiti heightens resident fear and is often perceived as a sign that a downward spiral has begun, even though this may not be true.

Responsibility of Businesses

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.  As a business and leader in the community there are actions you can take to help reduce graffiti in your neighborhood:

  • Ongoing Upkeep – Make every effort to keep the appearance of your facility neat and clean.  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 Removal – Rapid and continual removal of graffiti is the best way for you to protect the image of your business and street while preserving your customers’ sense of security.  Studies done in Los Angeles County show that removal within 24 to 48 hours results in a nearly zero rate of reoccurrence.  Notify the City of Springfield of graffiti on public areas near your business so that it may be removed quickly.  Starting May 1, 2008 you may report any graffiti, on public or private property, to http://graffiti.lcogweb.org.  You may also be able to obtain some assistance with abatement of graffiti on your own property through this reporting system.
  • Control Access – Incorporate shrubs, thorny plants, and vines to restrict vandal access.  Adding or improving lighting around the building will promote natural surveillance.  Contact us at (541)726-3761 if you feel there are dark, public, areas near your business that are often hit with graffiti.  Limit access to roofs by moving dumpsters away from walls and covering drainpipes to prevent vandals from scaling them.  The roof of your business is likely the most vulnerable area, creating an opportunity for vandals to tag in hard to abate areas and potentially exposing your building to further damage or trespass.
  • Education­ - Educate your staff to the issue of graffiti.  If your establishment sells spray paint, make staff aware of the frequent shoplifting of spray paint, markers, and etching tools.

Responsibility of Property Owners

Graffiti is a sign of decay and makes people feel that their neighborhood is being lost to gangs and crime.  If allowed to remain, it sends the message that the community is unconcerned about its appearance.  Graffiti in a neighborhood becomes an open invitation for loitering, littering, more graffiti, and crime.  Ultimately, citizens feel less safe and secure in a neighborhood where graffiti is present.  As a property owner and member of your community there are actions you can take to help reduce graffiti in your neighborhood:

  • Ongoing Upkeep – Make every effort to keep the appearance of your residence clean and neat.  An exterior appearance that suggests apathy and neglect attracts vandals.  Litter, broken fences, overgrown landscaping, and poor lighting all send a message to vandals that the property owner is not attentive or does not care, even though this may not be true.
  • ­Rapid Removal – Rapid and continual removal of graffiti is the best way for you to protect your property and preserve the image of your neighborhood.  Studies done in Los Angeles County show that removal within 24 to 48 hours results in a nearly zero rate of reoccurrence.  Notify the City of Springfield of graffiti on public areas near your home so that it may be removed quickly.  You may report any graffiti, on public or private property, to http://graffiti.lcogweb.org.  You may also be able to obtain some assistance with abatement of graffiti on your own property through this reporting system.
  • Prevention – Incorporate shrubs, thorny plants, and vines to restrict vandal access to walls, fences, sheds, garages, and other graffiti targets.  Adding or improving lighting around your property promotes natural surveillance.  Contact us at (541)726-3761 if you feel there are dark, public, areas in your community that are often hit with graffiti.

What to Do If You are a Victim of Graffiti Vandalism
  • DO NOT attempt to apprehend the suspect.
  • Do get a good description of the suspect(s) and vehicle(s) involved, and the location.
  • Call (541) 726-3714 to have a police officer come to your house and take a report (if the suspects are seen, known, or if there is a witness.)
  • If you have no information pertinent to the crime, you may still report the incident of graffiti.  Visit http://graffiti.lcogweb.org.  Take photos of the graffiti vandalism as you may have the opportunity to upload them.  You may also call (541) 726-3714 to speak with the Police Department. 

What You Can Do to Stop Graffiti Vandalism
  • Remove any graffiti on your property immediately!  
  • Make sure your child is not a graffiti vandal.
  • Report it!  Visit http://graffiti.lcogweb.org to file a report or call (541)726-3714.  The City of Springfield is taking a pro-active approach to the elimination of Graffiti in our community by providing an online reporting resource.  By reporting graffiti you are helping us track incidents and abate when possible.
  • Assist your neighbors if they need your help.
  • Work with the Police Department if you know of someone guilty of graffiti vandalism.

 

How to Remove Graffiti Vandalism

(The methods listed below are to be used only as specified by the product manufacturer and at the sole responsibility of the property owner)

 

  • Use matching paint so you don't leave a "canvas" for future graffiti.
  • Keep paint readily available.
  • Certain chemicals available at your local hardware dealer may be used on glass, unpainted metal, previously painted metal or other surfaces, or brick or block walls.  Many are hazardous chemicals.  It’s important to select the appropriate chemical for your specific need.  When possible, try to choose less hazardous chemicals.  Do not use any removal chemical without reading and understanding the directions on the container.  You should always wear rubber gloves and scrub your hands with soap and water.
  • If water is necessary, use only as much as needed to wash off residual paint.  Make sure that washwater does not enter storm drains or gutters.  Chemicals in graffiti removal products can pollute water and are potentially toxic to aquatic animals. 
  • The following businesses currently offer graffiti removal services (at owner’s expense).  The independent contractors listed below are provided as a courtesy and the City does not warrant their services:
    • Gunderson Rail Car in Springfield – phone 541-746-6556.
    • Carlson & Strand Painting – phone 541-747-7844.
    • Timberline Painting & Remodeling – phone 541-912-7777.
    • Graffiti Be Gone - phone 541-653-7561 or 541-736-0178.
    • Clearview Glass Restoration - phone 541-709-1281

If you have a business and would like to offer graffiti removal services please contact us by calling (541)736-7132 or emailing us at cgriesel@springfield-or.gov


Graffiti on Public/City Properties
The City Public Works Maintenance Division will coordinate with Team Springfield agencies (Willamalane Parks and Recreation District, Springfield Utility Board, Springfield School District 19) and private utilities to expedite graffiti removal.  You may report graffiti on public or private property by visiting http://graffiti.lcogweb.org or by calling (541)726-3714.

Contact Us
Please contact the City of Springfield if you have any questions, concerns, or would like assistance with the abatement of graffiti or if you would like to report graffiti on your property or a property within the area. 
Reporting or Requesting Assistance – To report a graffiti incident and/or request assistance with abatement, please log on to http://graffiti.lcogweb.org.  If you do not have access to a computer but would still like to report a graffiti incident, you may call the Springfield Police Department at (541)726-3714. 
Getting Involved – If you would like to get involved in graffiti prevention and abatement by volunteering time, services, or any other resources, or if you would like additional information, please contact the City of Springfield at (541)736-7132.

City of Springfield, Oregon