Graffiti in Salinas

The cost of graffiti in Salins: Graffiti is a crime with very real costs to our businesses and our residents. Graffiti contributes to reduced retail sales, a decline in property values of up to 15%, and citizen fear and apathy. Patrons of buildings, parks, or public facilities where graffiti vandalism has occurred may feel that if graffiti is tolerated, then more serious crimes, such as theft and assault, may also go unchallenged.

The city of Salinas spends over $100,000 per year cleaning graffiti, in addition to costs incurred by private businesses. The costs are expected to rise as more and more tags appear.

Taggers write the vast majority of graffiti in Salinas. A tagger writes his or her nickname (tag) so that his or her peers will see it. Taggers vandalize all parts of the city, and are not necessarily tied to a specific neighborhood. Taggers are usually part of a group called a crew. Tags can be recognized by their particular style, which consists only of the tagger and/or crew name. Tag names are typically one short word, like “REEKZ,” and crew names are usually three or four initials or numbers, such as “TNG ”  or “2700”. Taggers thrive on placing their tag names on as many and as dangerous places as possible. The objective of tagging is peer recognition: the tagger gains more notoriety the longer the tag is up. Quick removal of graffiti is important because it discourages more tagging.  Quick removal of graffiti also deters other more serious crimes because would-be criminals see that people care and are watching.

How can a business prevent graffiti?

1. Make every effort to keep the appearance of a facility clean and neat. Littered parking lots, graffiti, broken fences, bent or faded signs, overgrown landscaping, poor lighting and cracked and faded paint all attract vandals.  Daily inspect your property building and surroundings for graffiti and notify your business neighbors and BFI (number below) regarding any graffiti for removal.

2. Rapid and continual removal of graffiti.

3. Add or improve lighting, plant thorny bushes, limit access to roofs by moving dumpsters and covering drainpipes. Post your commercial property to prohibit trespassers and skateboarding and to advise regarding any video surveillance.

4. Use a security camera and organize a Business Watch. Many neighborhoods throughout Salinas have active Neighborhood Watches adjacent to business districts. Consider aligning your Business area with them as they have powerful organizational skills and are already acting as eyes and ears for the Police Department. If you are a property owner, empower your business tenants to call you and the Police non-emergency number 758-7321 regarding any suspicious person or groups.  Keep a close eye on groups of teenagers hanging out in the parking lot in front or behind stores or offices for protracted periods of time.

5. Create a community mural on a chronically hit wall. Even in Salinas, community murals are rarely, if ever, tagged.

6. Print graffiti prevention messages on bags, sales flyers, book covers, and other promotional items.

7. Refrain from using graffiti images in ads or promoting graffiti in any way.

8. Take pictures of all graffiti before it is removed and report to the Salinas Police Department at 758-7926.

10. Remove graffiti promptly and completely. Remember, the longer graffiti remains, the more glory the tagger receives. Removal methods include:

Paint out: Be sure the color matches the surface. A patchwork of paint or large block of a different color paint is and ideal canvas and will invite more graffiti. Be sure to cover the graffiti completely. Use additional coats of paint if necessary.

Chemical removal: Lift-Off has several products for graffiti removal that have proven effective on removing pen and paint tagging throughout the city.  Use OOPS! rather than GOOF OFF.

Power wash unpainted  brick and concrete surfaces.

11. Do not hesitate to report suspicious persons to the Salinas Police Department non-emergency reporting line at 758-7321. You have the right to determine who gets to hang out in your business and parking lot. If you witness someone writing graffiti anywhere, on anything, report it immediately.

Join the Anti-Graffiti Community Group which consists of Neighborhood Watch organizations, the City of Salinas, the Salinas Valley Chamber of Commerce, and others to identify perpetrators, increase penalties, and address graffiti as it occurs.  Contact Tom Carvey at the Salinas Valley Chamber of Commerce for more information.

Source Information from Graffiti Hurts and the National Association of Realtors.

Questions?  Cotact Steve McShane (831) 970-4141

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