Protect surfaces with clear-coat finishes and/or film coverings available through paint, hardware, and glass supply stores.
Keep your property well lit. Install motion sensitive lights in low traffic areas.
Maintain property and buildings. Vandals are attracted to abandoned and/or dilapidated sites.
Consider landscaping alternatives. Eliminate large "canvasses" by planting vines or tall shrubs next to walls and fences. Use "barrier" plants with prickly or thorny foliage to thwart would-be vandals.
Cover or eliminate walls, fences, and other flat surfaces that are easily painted.
Hire security or initiate a Neighborhood Watch Program.
Remove potential rooftop access by moving cars, dumpsters, and pallets away from buildings. Likewise, remove or relocate pipes and low fences that vandals can stand on.
Teach your children to respect public and private property.
Design courtyards and walkways to be easily visible from all angles (windows, etc.)
Avoid building "up" when possible. Taggers are attracted to locations that are higher up where their work is more visible. Water neutralizes some of these products.
Multi-family dwellings and/or business complexes should be designed with clear ownership in mind. Common areas are less likely to be maintained and will thus attract vandalism.
Prompt and persistent removal (within 24 hours) is the best way to eliminate a re-occurring problem.
Methods for removing graffiti include painting, sanding, scraping, chemical removers, power washing, and wet or dry sandblasting.
To determine the proper removal method, consider the surface structure and material of the "canvas" and the type of instrument used to vandalize. The ultimate goal is to preserve the original condition of the surface (like the graffiti never existed).
When painting, match the color. If the graffiti bleeds through, first use a primer.
When painting over larger structures like fences or walls, consider painting the entire surface so that it is one uniform color and future "hits" can be covered more quickly.
Sanding is one method for removing graffiti from wood fences, but the process is very labor-intensive and wears down the fencing material.
Use scrapers to remove sticker tagging from poles, paper boxes, etc. Chemical removers may be necessary to remove the adhesive backing.
When using chemical graffiti removers, ALWAYS consult the Material Safety Data Sheet for safety precautions including, but not limited to, wearing appropriate safety equipment, knowing the safe exposure limits, and emergency procedures and treatment.
Chemicals are often used to remove spray paint, marking pens, nail polish, etc. Removers may be found at paint supply and hardware stores. Again, it is important to read and understand the environmental and personal warnings for any of the removers you may use.
Avoid letting removers set on the surface to be cleaned for too long (it could affect the underlying material). Rather, apply a second coat.
Power washing or sandblasting are often used when stone/concrete walls or wood fences have been spray-painted. Power washing, like sanding, can wear down the underlying material, so it is important to only remove as little material as possible.
In most cases, runoff or particulate matter from sand or power washing is considered an environmental hazard. Do not allow paint-contaminated material to flow into the storm drains, which flow directly to creeks.
Enlist other community members to volunteer with you to remove and prevent graffiti in your community.
To learn more about graffiti and the City's program, invite a City staff member to speak at your business or group meetings.