This is a question often asked. Literally, the word Graffiti comes from the Italian word “Graffio” meaning, scratching. This was and still is a method of decorating by scratching through plaster to reveal different coloured under-surfaces.
These days graffiti is almost at epidemic proportions, with the advent of aerosol cans and broad tipped markers etc.
One of graffiti’s most insidious and costly expressions is graffiti scratched into glass. In some schools the remediation of this kind of vandalism, is costing tens of thousands of dollars.
Being able to remove the scratches and return the glass, or mirror, back to full optical clarity is an effective, affordable option. Most times the repair can be around 25 per cent, on average, of the replacement cost.
The New Zealand government does reimburse schools for this mindless vandalism, but we all must do our bit to reduce, if not eradicate the activity.
One of the most effective methods is to invest the time into putting in place a ‘graffiti management program’ This may be thought of as a kind of insurance policy. The description of this kind of protection is called a ‘Clean Wall Guarantee’ One fixed cost per annum; no matter how many times the graffiti has to be removed.
Restoration rather than obliteration is also paramount, look around your town and you will see where some well-intentioned workers have simply slapped a coat of whatever paint they have on board over an offensive scrawling, sadly this is almost like replacing one form of graffiti with another.
Once your school or college becomes a target, it is imperative that you act swiftly and remove the ‘tag’ or scratching; this effectively takes the wind out of the sails of the young vandal. If you can do this the same day or certainly within twenty four hours, you will get to them. The usual M.O. of these people is get their message out there for as many people as possible to see.
The introvert will usually confine his or her damage to the toilets/bathrooms. Using a felt tipped pen, the message will be legible and usually crude.
The extrovert will want to gain the widest publicity possible, it may be sport or politically motivated, these people prefer using an aerosol for bolder presentation.
One thing is for sure, act swiftly, and be aware they will return. The pattern is similar to that of a home burglar they break in; steal your valuables and leave. Then they will wait maybe five or six weeks until the insurance companies have paid out, that is why you should break up and destroy plasma TV boxes etc, before placing them outside your home. Once they know that there are new appliances in the home, guess what? They re-visit.
The graffiti vandal does the same thing, what you need to be is vigilant and decisive.
Having a Clean Wall Guarantee in place, makes it far less painful when the graffiti vandal, returns and damages a surface that has recently been cleaned up and repainted with a matching colour to restore the harmony of the area.
The effect on a community or school/college can be quite emotional, it represents a threat to the locals/pupils.
Are these places safe to visit?
Am I safe from the kind of people who do these mindless acts?
There are a number of very good ‘anti-graffiti’ coatings available now, depending on the surface they are to applied on and the desired finish. Sacrificial coatings are very good on surfaces such as stone, or where the natural finish is dull and that is to be retained. The best anti-graffiti coatings are the ones that can withstand hundreds of cleans, before they need to be reapplied.
Please, do not despair, there is help out there from some very caring and experienced operators, let the graffiti vandals in your school or college know that “The writing is on the wall” and their days are numbered!
Acknowledgement – Some material here has been gratefully offered by the publication “The Graffiti Guardian” Thank You.