Graffiti Abatement Program
Click Here for the Graffiti Abatement presentation to City Council on October 2, 2012.
The City’s Graffiti Abatement Program (GAP) has been evolving since 1993. Since that time, the Public Works Department has developed an effective volunteer and staff program designed to assist property owners with graffiti abatement. Graffiti vandalism costs the City hundreds of thousands of dollars per year and causes private property owners immeasurable financial and emotional burdens.
The Santa Rosa Police Department assumed a greater deal of responsibility for the GAP in August 2006. Our program’s focus is on enforcement, education, and eradication. By working closely with other affected City departments, volunteers, neighborhood associations, and schools, we are committed to making Santa Rosa a safer and more beautiful place to live. We work closely with officers to build strong cases against prolific graffiti vandals and warehouse essential graffiti-related information. We give educational presentations to students, law enforcement personnel, community organizations, and City staff. We encourage new volunteers to join the Volunteer Graffiti Abatement Program and stay connected to long-term volunteers through scheduled volunteer events. We give out eradication supply kits free of charge to anyone interested in joining our team.
An example of our early success was a proactive investigation in which we worked with the School Resource Officers to arrest a prolific graffiti tagger who was suspected of more than 300 acts of vandalism. After serving simultaneous search warrants in various locations, we were able to make an important arrest that sent a message to the community that vandalism will not be tolerated in Santa Rosa.
The City of Santa Rosa takes a pro-active approach to graffiti abatement. As “tagging” and gang graffiti has escalated, so too has the City’s efforts to eliminate it.
The Police, Public Works, and Parks Departments work collaboratively to address graffiti vandalism through abatement, education, and enforcement. It is hoped that through the efforts of the City staff, volunteers, property owners, and effective enforcement of Graffiti Abatement Ordinance 3729, graffiti will be limited throughout the City of Santa Rosa.
The Santa Rosa Police Department:
Is responsible for enforcing the City's Graffiti Abatement Ordinance 3729 which ensures graffiti located on private property is removed by the owners in a timely manner.
- Conducts vandalism investigations.
- Administers the Volunteer Graffiti Abatement Program.
- Makes presentations to schools, community groups and neighborhood associations.
- Conducts community outreach campaigns and attends special events.
The Public Works Department:
Removes graffiti from public property.
Manages the graffiti abatement contractor.
The Recreation & Parks Department:
- Removes graffiti from City parks.
When reporting graffiti vandalism in progress, be prepared to give a description of the location of the graffiti, the vandals' clothing, age, height, gender and what was used to do the graffiti.
How do I distinguish public property from private property?
In general, public property includes parks, streets, sidewalks, and street furniture; i.e., traffic signals, streetlights, water hydrants, and signs. Report graffiti in these areas to the responsible agency. Private property is typically located behind the sidewalk; i.e., buildings, walls and fences.
Who is responsible for graffiti removal on private property?
Graffiti removal on private property is the responsibility of the property owner, with assistance from the graffiti abatement volunteers on a limited basis. Exceptions include private utility structures (boxes, poles, etc.) located in the public right-of-way, or State/County property, which can be referred to the appropriate agency. See the sidebar list of contact numbers.