When I first started, I asked the staff lots and lots of questions. I assured them that I was not going to come in and make willy-nilly changes. I didn’t even tell them that I was thinking of the disconnect that I just described. Remember – they were proud of what they did and did not think that there was a problem. I felt that I had to tread lightly. During this initial period, I learned quite a bit. I learned that:
The only problem that I saw when I was transferred into the Anti-Graffiti Program was that there was graffiti EVERYWHERE. It had become part of the urban landscape. You couldn’t drive anywhere without seeing graffiti – lots of it. It was in all corners of the city. It was big and small. It was on sound walls. It was on bridges. It was on freeway signs. It was on utility boxes. It was on buildings. It was on fences. It was on polls. It was on… well you get the idea. There seemed to be a huge disconnect between the image of this respected program and what you saw on the streets. What I didn’t know was why this disconnect existed.
Thank you for asking where you can find the book “Ten Steps To A Graffiti-free City”. Currently, only the first step or Chapter Guidebook “Just How Bad Is It Anyway? How To Conduct A City-wide Graffiti Survey” is available and you can find it on our website www.thegraffiticonsultants.com Click on the “Material to Help You Become Graffiti Free” tab to find it. More Booklets will be added as they are printed until all ten are complete. Thanks again and good luck!
Let me paint a picture for you of the graffiti situation in San Jose when I was transferred into the Anti-Graffiti Program in 1997. The program was not new. It had been established as a multi-faceted anti-graffiti effort (or program) for at least five years. Individual pieces of the program had been in existence even before that. They had embraced the popular “4E’s”: Enforcement (catching and prosecuting graffiti vandals), Education (sharing graffiti information with adults and telling youth not to participate in graffiti vandalism), Eradication (getting rid of the graffiti), and Empowerment (recruiting volunteers to remove graffiti in their neighborhoods). The program was well respected – both inside and outside of San Jose. They did an excellent job of promoting their strengths and successes. The staff in the program was very comfortable in their roles and very proud of their efforts. Their marketing materials were first-class. Their oral reports in meetings always put a positive spin on the many anti-graffiti activities that they provided with an immense amount of pride.
I will now attempt to show you why I’m confident that the systems and strategies in this book will greatly reduce graffiti in your city. I was the manager of the City of San Jose’s Anti-Graffiti and Litter Program for 10 years. Believe it or not, San Jose is the 10th largest city in the United States with a population of just under a million and an area of 177 square miles. During my time there we were able to reduce graffiti in San Jose by 99.88%. Like any successful achievement, this improvement included the ingredients of hard work, learning from mistakes, and good luck. But most important of all was the mayor and city council who were determined to get rid of graffiti and allowed staff to design and follow a strategic plan that will dramatically reduce graffiti in any city that chooses to implement it. I freely admit that a very few cities may never be able to fully benefit from this information simply because they’re too large to make improvements in systems that are written too deeply into stone and/or that have severe gang populations i.e. New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago quickly come to mind.
First, however, let me identify the primary target market for most of the information in this book: city employees. We will spend most of our efforts explaining how cities should organize themselves and carry out the plans that are described herein. Some of the information does focus on county agencies – especially in regard to the consequences graffiti vandals must face when they are caught. These groups include judges, adult and juvenile probation departments, and the offices of district attorneys.
How do you know that is worth your time to read this book? How do you know that the information (if followed) will lead to what I promise you – graffiti being substantially reduced in your area? Well…the best way to answer these questions is to give you some background of what has happened in a few cities that have employed the systems and strategies that I’ve spelled out for you in this book.
How do you know that is worth your time to read this blog? How do you know that the information (if followed) will lead to what I promise you – graffiti being substantially reduced in your area? Well… the best way to answer these questions is to give you some background of what has happened in a few cities that have employed the systems and strategies that I’ve spelled out for you in this blog.
First, however, let me identify the primary target market for most of the information in this blog: city employees. We will spend most of our efforts explaining how cities should organize themselves and carry out the plans that are described herein. Some of the information does focus on county agencies – especially in regard to the consequences graffiti vandals must face when they are caught. These groups include judges, adult and juvenile probation departments, and the offices of district attorneys.
My name is Rick Stanton and I despise graffiti. It frustrates me to no end that graffiti vandals eagerly deface the property of others. Given the target market for this blog, I’m sure that the vast majority of you feel the same way. Raise your hand if you have ever asked a coworker “How do you think they would like it if I wrote my name with spray paint on their car?” According to the United States Department of Justice, the annual cost of graffiti removal in the US in 2010 was a staggering $12 Billion. I am also pretty sure that many of you have said “Just think of all the good things that could be done in the world if all the money that is needlessly wasted on anti-graffiti efforts was used for the good of the community. Imagine all the additional soccer fields, community centers, and libraries we could have built. Imagine how many fewer potholes over which our cars would be driving”. (By the way… you can put your hands down now). Can we all agree that working full-time (or even part-time) in an anti-graffiti effort can be frustrating, demanding, exciting, and challenging all at the same time? Most likely, you don’t find it easy or boring.
The bottom line is that it is my hope and dream that this blog will help you with your anti-graffiti efforts. If you follow the suggestions in this blog, you’ll succeed in your efforts to reduce (almost to the point of elimination) the graffiti for which you are responsible. The information contained in the following pages is the culmination of my 15 plus years of full-time work in the anti-graffiti field. It also includes the insights of other highly successful anti-graffiti professionals worldwide.