Menace of Graffiti – What Can I Do?
Doug Brewer, City of Holladay Ordinance Compliance Officer
How sad to see increasing graffiti in our community. And what can be done?
Seeing rampant graffiti in larger cities where this is out of control should motivate us to do all we can to assure we keep our communities graffiti free.
It seems any blank surface is fair game to whatever immature and insensitive mind does such a thing. Chemicals cannot remove certain kinds of paints, requiring them to be covered with a color that often cannot match the original surface leaving a “graffiti patch” as evident as the graffiti itself.
School neighborhoods are particularly vulnerable. Even elementary schools are not immune. Offenders use magic markers, roller-ball paint markers, spray cans of course,
now, even we find stickers, some with full-sentence political statements placed on utility boxes and such, using sticky-tape lift-off strips that can be applied in only a few seconds and requiring painstaking labor to remove. “Hit and run” indeed.
Usually applied under cover of night with hidden access, it is seldom possible to catch the culprit “in the act.” When they are, penalties are severe. Violators can expect both fines and hard labor on graffiti cleanup crews and other work crews of various “correctional” facilities. Few judges are lenient on this crime.
We find citizens often do not realize graffiti on private property is the owner’s responsibility to remedy within 5 days and even though “victimized twice” face fines for not doing so. Public property is cleaned up by the agency who owns it: city, county, state, such as UDOT, etc.
Most offenders are “taggers” who want to exhibit their supposedly artistic initials or “monikers”. A small percent are gang related with in-house jargon known to other gangs. The Metro Gang Unit (801-743-5864) welcomes pictures/locations of recent hits.
What can I do? The bigger tragedy is that it happens at all. Parents can share their dismay with children, look for markers or evidence their child may be carrying such as blank artbook “bibles” with moniker sketches, etc., if in question and explain the extra costs in taxes they must pay and the visual disappointment they feel. You can lead out in church, Scouting, PTA, school assemblies and neighborhood service projects. Plant pyracantha, vines, and discourage access to any potential “canvas.”
Clean hits immediately (keep best-matching paint or chemicals handy). Alert and educate neighbors to do the same. A tagger is less likely to risk getting caught if they know it won’t be seen for very long. If on public property, report to:
SL County Cleanup & Assistance, Nancy White, 801-468-2182,
End Graffiti Hotline, 801-363-4723
SL City Graffiti Removal, 801-972-7885.
In Holladay, call Ordinance Enforcement 527-3890 or Unified Police Dept 801-743-7000.