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Preventing Graffiti Vandalism

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Removing graffiti can be a time consuming and difficult job. Even after you have spent a great deal of time, energy and resources on removing graffiti, some traces of the graffiti may still remain. Repainting to cover those graffiti remnants will only add to the expense. Graffiti vandalism is costly to the community as graffiti clean-up diverts funds away from schools, roads, parks and other community improvements.

You can avoid some of this effort and expense by taking preventative action.

Remove graffiti promptly

The most effective way to prevent graffiti vandalism is to remove graffiti promptly (preferably within 24 to 48 hours) to show that you care about the property. This will discourage the graffiti vandal because it doesn’t give them the recognition they are looking for. For advice on removing graffiti, refer to the Removing graffiti webpage.

Maintain your property

Keep your property clean and tidy, free of litter, weeds and damage to show that you care about your property and that vandalism will not be tolerated. Encourage your neighbours to maintain their properties so the whole neighbourhood appears neat and clean. An exterior appearance that suggests lack of concern and neglect may attract vandals.

Install fencing that won’t attract graffiti

If you’re installing a new fence or replacing an existing fence, consider installing a metal cyclone fence or a fence constructed with natural materials (e.g. bamboo or bush reed). Textured surfaces are difficult to spray paint and graffiti on such surfaces is hard to read. Graffiti vandals are less likely to vandalise such surfaces as they won’t get the recognition they desire. Alternatively, you could go one step further and install bar fencing (e.g. pool or wrought iron fencing) that doesn’t offer the flat continuous surface graffiti vandals prefer.

Paint walls and fences with dark colours

Discourage graffiti vandals from vandalising your walls and fences by painting them with darker colours. Graffiti is less noticeable on darker coloured surfaces and, hence, is less likely to give the vandal the recognition they’re looking for. Always keep extra paint the same colour as your walls, fences and other painted surfaces on hand so graffiti vandalism can be covered-over quickly.

Plant vegetation in front of walls and fences

Install trellis on blank walls and fences to create an uneven surface—uneven surfaces deter graffiti vandals as their graffiti will not be clearly visible. Alternatively, plant thorny and/or climbing vegetation in front of walls and fences to deter graffiti vandals. Vandals will avoid thorny plants. Climbing plants will make the surface difficult to graffiti.

Employ security measures

Ensure your property has adequate security to prevent access by graffiti vandals. Restrict access to walls and other flat surfaces by installing locks, fences and gates. Secure items such as benches, barbecues and wheelie bins so they can’t be used to gain access to walls or rooftops. For more information on home and business security, refer to the preventing crime factsheets.

Improve lighting

Graffiti vandalism is often conducted in areas that are poorly lit in order to reduce the risk of getting caught or reported. A well-lit area will promote natural surveillance and deter vandalism. Consider motion-activated lights to deter graffiti vandals. Request that your local council install lighting in community areas that are often dark and vandalised with graffiti.

Use graffiti coating in high risk areas

For areas that are repeatedly vandalised with graffiti, use graffiti resistant materials or protective coatings so graffiti can be easily removed. Most graffiti is spray painted on and, like any paint, it penetrates porous material such as brick, concrete and timber. Sealing such surfaces with a protective coating reduces its porosity, making the graffiti easier to remove.

Report graffiti vandalism

Report instances of graffiti vandalism to the police, property owner and council at the earliest opportunity. Reporting graffiti vandalism to the police will help local police to identify graffiti hot spots. Reporting graffiti to the property owner and local council will help facilitate prompt graffiti removal and, thus, prevent further graffiti vandalism.

Last updated on 29 June 2015