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Thread: Graffiti/crime prevention techniques

  1. #1
    Cyburbian rcgplanner's avatar
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    Graffiti/crime prevention techniques

    I am dealing with a fun issue from our Police Department via our Code Enforcement Division, a local store owner who is having a real problem with people vandalizing (graffiti) his trash compactor and screening wall. According to the PD, people are climbing over the 6 foot screening wall from a neighboring alley/driveway and apartment complex. The vandals are using stolen milk crates from the store as their boost over the wall and also as something to jump back down on when running from the police. The PD and store owner have come to me asking for help. One of the ideas they have is making the wall taller. Our zoning only allows a wall or fence higher than 6 feet with approval from the Zoning Administrator. I think making the wall higher will actually make their problem worse by screening the illicit activity even more. My idea was using CPTED principles to solve this issue. I have a meeting with the PD and owner later this week and with some research have come up with a list of possible solutions.

    - Use thorny landscaping (I have a 3 page list of plants) and plant it on the apartment side of the wall to discourage climbing/jumping over the wall.
    - Paint the trash compactor a dark color (it is currently silver) to making the graffiti more difficult to see
    - Use graffiti resistant paint to paint the compactor
    - Install lattice trellises on the side of the trash compactor and plant ivy or climbing vines on the trellis to remove a clear surface for vandalinzing (not sure this would work with a metal trash compactor

    Has anyone else dealt with this issue. Any comments or other ideas would greatly be apperciated!

  2. #2
    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by rcgplanner View post
    I am dealing with a fun issue from our Police Department via our Code Enforcement Division, a local store owner who is having a real problem with people vandalizing (graffiti) his trash compactor and screening wall. According to the PD, people are climbing over the 6 foot screening wall from a neighboring alley/driveway and apartment complex. The vandals are using stolen milk crates from the store as their boost over the wall and also as something to jump back down on when running from the police. The PD and store owner have come to me asking for help. One of the ideas they have is making the wall taller. Our zoning only allows a wall or fence higher than 6 feet with approval from the Zoning Administrator. I think making the wall higher will actually make their problem worse by screening the illicit activity even more. My idea was using CPTED principles to solve this issue. I have a meeting with the PD and owner later this week and with some research have come up with a list of possible solutions.

    - Use thorny landscaping (I have a 3 page list of plants) and plant it on the apartment side of the wall to discourage climbing/jumping over the wall.
    - Paint the trash compactor a dark color (it is currently silver) to making the graffiti more difficult to see
    - Use graffiti resistant paint to paint the compactor
    - Install lattice trellises on the side of the trash compactor and plant ivy or climbing vines on the trellis to remove a clear surface for vandalinzing (not sure this would work with a metal trash compactor

    Has anyone else dealt with this issue. Any comments or other ideas would greatly be apperciated!
    I work in an urban area where tagging is pretty commonplace. Wherever there is an accessible "canvas", there is graffiti to be found. I am with you on not raising the wall since it will conceal activities further. I would emphasize decreasing the access to the wall/compactor. Locking up or storing the milk crates would be a start since that seems to be the ladder of choice, thorny plantings as you suggested, the dark paint isn't a deterrent-they will just use flashy colored paint but a graffiti resistant paint will make things a bit easier for the store owner. I'd also go take a look at the site and see where the miscreants are coming from and figure out how to stymie access from that side as well. A motion tripped bright spotlight would not hurt either if this is happening at night. Do you allow razor wire?
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

  3. #3
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Barb and razor wire are effective. As are Junk-yard dogs, Dobermans, and Pit-bulls.

    Painting the trash compactor won't do a thing. White and yellow look great on a dark background.

    I agree, having the milk crates out is an open invitation to the nar-do-wells.

    There are probably other solutions, but I am a product of my environment.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian rcgplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by DetroitPlanner View post
    Barb and razor wire are effective. As are Junk-yard dogs, Dobermans, and Pit-bulls.

    There are probably other solutions, but I am a product of my environment.
    Haha, I was thinking something similar, or a nice electrified chain-link fence. Unfortunately we don't allow razor wire except in industrial districts and electric fences are prohibited too.

    Thanks kjel for your input as well, I was a bit dubious of the paint the enclosure a dark color idea too. It seems like the neighboring housing authority complex wants to help to and they state they have the $ to chip in for a solution.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    Two thoughts:

    1) I saw some presentation a few years ago about dealing with this kind of issue in a tough Philadelphia neighborhood. The CPTED or something similar-inspired solution for a local school that was getting hit weekly was to actually turn ALL the security lights at the site OFF. Yes, off. The rationale (and it was successful) was that would be taggers could not really see the site or the “canvas” clearly enough to get in there and do their business, so they took it elsewhere. As a bonus, the school saved on their electric bill.
    2) This is a little more involved, but some cities and communities have taken to painting murals (graffiti-inspired art or otherwise) on these tempting public canvas’. Although not enforceable, there is a general, unspoken rule about not tagging or graffiti-ing artwork. Doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen, though, so they would be taking their chances (but maybe also creating more buy-in from the community)

    Our city has a graffiti removal program. If you see graffiti, you can call a hotline and they come within 24 hours and remove it with some sort of magical, mystical, undoubtedly horribly polluting substance. The very first night in our (then) new home downtown saw my van getting tagged all over (even the windows) with gold paint. I called the hotline and they had it removed with no lingering effects. How they removed the spray paint and not my car’s paint is beyond me, but they did it.

    Still, I am sure the graffiti removal program would be pretty frustrated with this scenario.
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  6. #6
    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by wahday View post
    his is a little more involved, but some cities and communities have taken to painting murals (graffiti-inspired art or otherwise) on these tempting public canvas’. Although not enforceable, there is a general, unspoken rule about not tagging or graffiti-ing artwork. Doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen, though, so they would be taking their chances (but maybe also creating more buy-in from the community)
    We have several community planned murals that have remained untouched for a couple of years (another is underway at a school). The key was to involve the young people of the community in the design and creation of the mural.

    Before: http://goo.gl/maps/260ln
    After: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lacasad...7628388097459/

    Before: http://goo.gl/maps/7jdf9
    After: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lacasad...7629184771660/
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    I like the idea of a motion activated light. What about a security camera?

    Does your state have a stand your ground law? He could always just shoot the kids.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Clore's avatar
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    American flag

    I've heard National Parks Service have had luck putting American flag stickers on things that were being defaced. Maybe a big American flag painting?

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