It not only affects the appearance of an area, but also creates an edgy feeling that leaves you with the impression, “Is this place really safe?”

Vandals, gangs and street artists have turned graffiti into a national epidemic and graffiti vandalism has caused property maintenance to sky rocket throughout the country. Once graffiti appears on a building it must be quickly removed or it creates a chain reaction of further vandalism. It not only affects the appearance of an area but also creates an edge feeling that leaves people with the question: “is this place really safe?” Our strategy is one of Rapid Response, i.e. in order to get the message across to offenders; it is necessary to remove graffiti within thirty six hours.

Graffiti is the common name that is given to anything that is painted, written or spray-painted on walls, doors, trains and buses and anywhere the taggers feel like doing it. It is sometimes regarded as ART, (usually by the taggers themselves) but to the majority of law abiding people it is seen as unsightly and vandalism. Graffiti is seen by some as a victimless crime but the facts are very clear for all to see. The presence of graffiti in an area decreases property values, leads to other anti social behaviour and affects the quality of life for the people who live in the area. There are many forms of graffiti from tags to stickers to etching and stencils and many of the graffiti styles we see today started in the 1930’s in New York. Some gangs will use graffiti as a way to let other gangs know that this is their turf and by coming on to it, they face consequences or to create intimidation against people living in the area so that they can carry on with anti social behaviour such as drug dealing or drinking.

Most graffiti taggers like to work under the cover of darkness or be hidden away from public view. They sometimes have a book with them that will have drawings in it, which they simply copy on to the surface. Many feel that by doing it on railway bridges or underpasses of motorways will expose them to a greater audience but this usually brings them a greater presence of danger. If you see a tagger at work, you should never approach them. The best course of action is to ring your local Garda station or 999.

Studies have found worldwide that graffiti that is removed within twenty-four hours is less likely to be re-offended as against graffiti that is left. Graffiti that is not removed leads to a chain reaction of many instances of graffiti.

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