Over the last month, Fremocentrist.com has received reports about a neighborhood-wide up-tick in graffiti – and the capture of two culprits on camera. Don Golgert, of Fremont Laser & Design, reported footage had been delivered to the Seattle Police Department. Such footage can greatly increase the chance of arrests in this case, convictions on graffiti crimes and, potentially, a decrease in further property damage.
In the case Golgert reported on, the criminals painted and etched the word ‘durf’ on surfaces and windows of area buildings and other property. Each incident will cost time and money for repairs, increasing costs for area businesses and renters.
The Seattle Police and Seattle Public Utilities have recommendations we all could take to help cut down on graffiti, and increase chances that those who commit these crimes can be prosecuted – and, hopefully, deterred from committing such damage in the future.
According to the City, ‘graffiti is any marking placed on public or private property without the owner’s permission. Stickers are also illegal.’ It is vandalism without permission, and is often created to be seen by others. That means that the best response is to immediately document the graffiti, report it and then clean it up thoroughly. Immediate and thorough response has proven to be very discouraging to the vandals, who will move on to place their message on surfaces where it will be left to be seen.
When you encounter graffiti, please:
- Document – Security video footage and still photos help the police. By capturing each incident of graffiti, it makes it easier for the police to create a record for prosecutors to show a judge.
- Report – If you see an act of graffiti or vandalism in progress, call 9-1-1. Community Police Officers discourage contact or confrontation directly, but photos, video and gathering accurate details on what the offender looks like and which way they travel, will help.
To report graffiti on your own property, use the Police on-line reporting system (it requires photos be downloaded to document the offense,) or call the SPD non-emergency number at 206/625-5011.
To report graffiti on someone else’s property, or public property, call the City Hotline at 206/684-7587 or use the on-line report form.
- Removal – Graffiti on your property, under the graffiti nuisance ordinance, requires you to remove it (or have it removed) in a timely manner.
- Prevention – In addition to immediate removal, creating barriers on otherwise bare walls (such as vegetation or deliberate art murals) discourage vandals. Using materials – like dark paint, clear-coat protectorates, protective film coverings over window glass, etc. – can make surfaces harder to graffiti. Well-lit areas, including areas lit by motion-sensitive lights, also discourage would-be vandals.
Graffiti sends a message to visitors, customers, and potential residents, that we don’t care about our neighborhood. Studies have shown that areas where graffiti and vandalism do not get addressed tend to have higher crime rates, and higher vacancy rates.
Please help defeat graffiti, and help collect evidence that will help the Seattle Police capture and convict criminals that commit these property crimes.