According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, graffiti is the most common type of property vandalism. The presence of graffiti is a reflection on the community. Its existence has serious economic as well as psychological consequences in neighborhoods and communicates alarm. It causes the area to look unsafe and makes people concerned about their personal safety. According to the National Association of Realtors, properties located in neighborhoods where there is graffiti vandalism lose 15% of their value.
We can place graffiti into four categories: the “Tagger” or “Hip Hop”, “Gang”, “Hate”, and “Generic”. The “Tagger” or “Hip Hop” graffiti writer wants recognition and status from their peers by placing distinctive writings or monikers in as many places for all to see. Nationally, about 80% of graffiti is “Tagger” or “Hip Hop” and most studies show the majority of offenders are males between 12 and 21 years old. “Gang” graffiti has two fronts, the initial vandalism and the message it is communicates. The message can be far worse when it identifies a turf, insults or challenges other gangs, or glorifies the behavior. In “Hate” graffiti the writer expresses messages of hate against ones race, religion, or ethnicity. With “Generic” graffiti the writer is usually expressing a love for a friend or pride for a school. These unlawful graffiti expressions can frustrate a property owner combined with the costs associated with its removal.
Ideally the Stamford Police Department would like to apprehend those responsible, realistically the tools used are common and legal to possess and it can take vandals mere seconds to put up their graffiti making it difficult for law enforcement.
Its continued existence constitutes a visual blight upon the area in which it is located and acts as a catalyst for other antisocial behavior. Prompt removal of graffiti is the greatest disincentive. The National Crime Prevention Council report that studies have determined that if graffiti is removed within 24-48 hours, there is little recurrence. This early removal will prevent the vandals from receiving the recognition they desire.