Those who lead the fight against graffiti recommend a three step process to help the city deal with it:
- Report it: report the crime to the police. And yes, just like any other crime, you dial 911 to report graffiti.
- Record it: take photos and make notes on when and where the damage appeared. Tell 911 that you have photos and notes and save them in case they are needed.
- Remove it: as quickly as possible. The longer the tag stays up; the more of a target your property and neighborhood becomes.
Quick removal means having a plan in place.
For small buildings and businesses this may be as simple as having a supply of graffiti removers, paint and someone who knows how to use them.
Larger buildings, with a staff or professional cleaning service, may need to set up a graffiti removal policy. This must then be communicated to the people designated to deal with the problem.
Recently, I observed the City of Boston's "Graffiti Busters" remove a large tag from an historic building. The city worker and the product both did a great job. Here, the graffiti was removed with one application.
The product used was called "Wipe Out." Its manufacturer says it's biodegradable and made to remove heavy graffiti from porous surfaces like brick, cement, and some natural stones. There's a link below to a complete specification and data sheet.
After seeing how well this worked I called a local paint supply store to confirm that they carry it. I found that they also recommended it. You might want to learn more about it and add it to your supplies.
Graffiti Busters will remove tags from private buildings with the permission of the owners. You can contact them and download a permission form at the link given in details below.
Often, the fastest removal is done by those who do it themselves or contract with a service firm to take care of the problem. One firm that is highly recommended by Back Bay residents is E.J. Clean. You see Erik J. Barry from this company cleaning the front of a Back Bay building in the photo above. On this day, he was doing routine maintenance. However, he uses the same skills and tools to remove graffiti and he also takes on projects on upper stories and rooftops.
Adopt your sidewalk
While thinking about graffiti control, consider adopting the area around your building. You'd be surprised how much better your property will look if you neatly cover or remove all the graffiti on the public property surrounding you. Litter and graffiti marketing materials like stickers, posters, postcards, and fliers placed on poles and cars are all illegal. Temporary signs for construction, moving, and other short-term events may be legal but they should be removed when the dates on them have passed.
Complete information on Wipe Out
Find their products near you.
City of Boston Graffiti Busters