Graffiti Information

What is Graffiti? 

Graffiti is any inscription, word, figure, or design marked, scratched, etched, drawn, or painted on building, fences, structures, equipment, or similar places. Though the colors may be vivid and eye-catching, the message is one of violence. “Tagging” and “Gang Tags” are often not far removed. Both claim territory and can lead to violence when other outside parties mark over their “art” in a challenge for the territory. Graffiti is organized illegal activity. Taggers are vandals engaging in criminal activity.

Graffiti is a crime! It is the defacing of property and it is a financial burden for citizens and businesses. It spreads fear in the neighborhoods it appears in, and perceives property to look unkempt. RCW 9A.48.070-090 deals with Malicious Mischief. If the damage is over $250 it is a felony, punishable by a sentence in prison.

Public facilities, businesses, and private property owners have to bear the cost of clean up and repair if the vandals are not apprehended and restitution recovered. These increased costs have to be passed on to the citizens and consumers.

Help to rid your community of graffiti by calling police if you know any information about graffiti or taggers. Graffiti is not a prank; it is a crime and will be prosecuted.

Tips for Removing Graffiti from Your Property

The sooner you remove graffiti, the easier it comes off, and you will receive a better result overall. An additional benefit of prompt removal is that it discourages additional graffiti and maintains the appearance of your property and neighborhood.

  • Before removing the graffiti make sure you record it by taking pictures, noting the date and any other additional information for reporting it to law enforcement.
  • The most efficient way to remove graffiti is to paint over it. The most common way to paint over the graffiti is to first use a primer, then the correct paint, and a sealant. By doing this it will usually cover the damage and prevent the vandal’s paint from bleeding through. Sealant can make future removal of graffiti easier as well. The best way to paint over rough surfaces is to use a foam brush that you can throw away; this allows you to paint in every crack and crevasse.
  • There are also several solvents available that can remove crayon, marking pen, magic marker, and spray paint. You will need to use caution in using these solvents to avoid damaging the surface the graffiti is on. We suggest you contact your local hardware or paint store for advice on the proper solvent to use. Be sure to wear gloves and utilize proper safety precautions when using solvents.
  • Read an article with tips on removing spray paint off brick walls.
  • If you need assistance with cleanup, please call the Monroe Police Department at (360) 794-6300.