Tags: graffiti | vandalism | hurts | cities | economically

4 Ways Graffiti Vandalism Hurts Cities Economically

4 Ways Graffiti Vandalism Hurts Cities Economically
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By    |   Sunday, 27 May 2018 12:59 PM

Graffiti-based vandalism continues to tattoo the urban landscape, defacing buildings, bridges, sidewalks, signs and other structures. The annual cleanup costs throughout the United States have been estimated between $8 billion to $12 billion.

In major cities such as New York, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Chicago, the associated expenses for graffiti vandalism reach well into the millions each year. Thus, local governments see graffiti gobble a bigger chunk of their strained budgets.

Private building owners often end up responsible for expensive graffiti removal, and property values tend to go down while this type of crime keeps going up. 

From coast to coast, big cities and small, graffiti is an exorbitant cost to governments and taxpayers.  It is becoming a hugely significant issue for many city economies. There are so many aspects to how graffiti hits areas hard financially both in a typical week and long-term, so the urgency to address the problem has never been higher.
 

There are four ways graffiti vandalism affects cities economically:

  • Removal. Traditional methods to remove graffiti are expensive and time-consuming, involving repainting, pressure washing or harsh chemicals. The overall cleanup method – supplies, extra labor force needed, and time invested – all are factored into the local government’s rising costs. What compounds it is the cumulative effect; one graffiti incident attracts another.  The cleanup efforts can never catch up.
  • Law enforcement. Graffiti offenders are hard to catch. This is a crime that is not typically reported to the police, so the true scope of the problem is unknown. Still, plenty is spent for investigating and prosecuting the graffiti that is reported. That takes time and resources. One way cities are trying to get some of their cost back is to seek restitution from vandals.
  • Property values. Property values plummet in areas where graffiti is rampant; one of its main impacts is to drive away business from business districts.  Some estimates say commercial real estate values can drop 25 to 30 percent if graffiti is within two blocks of a building. People automatically associate graffiti with gangs and crime in general. Graffiti leads to more graffiti, lowers property taxes, harms businesses and gives an overall negative perception of an area.
  • Non-government owners. While local governments get hit with the brunt of expenses for graffiti on public structures, private business owners often foot the bill for removing graffiti on their buildings. In some cities, property owners are required by law to remove illegal markings; failure to do so often results in fines. These requirements leave many commercial property owners feeling doubly victimized – the second time at the hands of the city government.

A lot of these graffiti vandals get immediate gratification while the areas and people affected get constant aggravation. They see it constantly and pay for it in some way.

Timothy Kephart is the founder of Graffiti Tracker, a web-based system designed to help people identify, track and prosecute graffiti vandals. He holds a master’s degree in Criminal Justice from Cal State Long Beach. A court-certified graffiti expert, Kephart has testified in homicide trials as it related to using graffiti as a way to prove motive for murder. He worked for the City of Carson as their in-house graffiti expert and was assigned to Carson Station for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

(Newsmax wire services contributed to this report).

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In major cities such as New York, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Chicago, the associated expenses for graffiti vandalism reach well into the millions each year. Thus, local governments see graffiti gobble a bigger chunk of their strained budgets.
graffiti, vandalism, hurts, cities, economically
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2018-59-27
Sunday, 27 May 2018 12:59 PM
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