Tackling graffiti on public buildings

October 31st, 2014 Category: Local Authority & Housing

Graffiti can have a detrimental effect on public buildings. If left out of control, it can seriously damage the reputation of an area and spoil the look of the local surroundings.

Even relatively minor amounts of graffiti can impact investment in the areas that it is based and discourage professionals from buying houses there.

 It can also contribute to a general sense of fear about crime levels and lead to concerns over personal safety.

Every year, millions of pounds are spent on removing graffiti and repairing buildings that have been affected by it.

Graffiti on public facilities such as town halls, schools and other venues can also cause residents to lack faith in local governance, and decrease the financial viability of those buildings.

For this reason, it is essential that local councils take steps to control the issue. There are a number of ways to do this.

The first step is to take a holistic and all-encompassing approach to crime and anti-social behaviour in an area.

This includes making efforts to understand the causes of crime, and the demographics of those who are responsible.

For example, graffiti is often created by groups of young people who will often target areas where they are less likely to get caught.

A comprehensive approach to reducing this type of crime may include both preventive and punitive measures.

So for example, it will be necessary to understand why some individuals choose to spray graffiti in certain places.

It could be down to a number of factors. Are there a lack of facilities for young people in the area?

Are there gangs that are known or suspected to operate in certain places? Is it only certain buildings, or homes that are being targeted? If so, why? 

All of these questions will need to be examined by the local authority in order to come up with an effective counter-strategy.

It could be as simple as providing more facilities for young people, or encouraging them to have a greater role in the local authority.

Other actions could involve holding education classes or workshops about the impact that graffiti has on the local community and getting young people involved in cleaning it up. If individuals are taught from a very young age about the damaging effects of something that may seem harmless to them, such as graffiti, they are more likely to respect their surroundings.

This type of tactic may be more effective if combined with other alternatives and artistic ventures that allow individuals to express themselves.

Punitive measures

Sometimes outreach work in the local community may not be enough on its own to deter troublemakers. For this reason, many local police forces and councils often collaborate in order to identify those responsible, and penalise them.

Penalties range from on-the-spot fines, to community service, tagging, or in extreme cases, imprisonment. 

In order to determine what will work best in a given area, it may be necessary to bring different agencies and local groups together in order to create a safer and more pleasant environment for everyone.