Graffiti Prevention Tips

Report suspicious behavior
If you see someone about to write graffiti or commit any other crime, call 911 immediately. You may report anonymous tips about graffiti vandals by calling Public Safety at 707-584-2600.

Question teens who try to get spray paint
California Penal Code PEN Section 594.1. (a)(1) prohibits sale of spray paint cans to anyone under 18. If teenagers ask for spray paint, find out how the paint is going to be used before providing them with it.

Teach responsibility and respect
Your children need to know that graffiti on private and public property is illegal and disrespectful.

Teach community pride
Parents, teachers, and community leaders should help discourage graffiti. The greater the stake a teen has in his or her community, the less likely he or she will vandalize it.

Protect your own property
Although there is no foolproof way to deter graffiti, there are some measures you can take to make your home or business less attractive to graffiti vandals. Below are some ideas.

  • Landscaping - Vandals like to paint graffiti on large flat surfaces, like sides of buildings or garages. Consider planting ivy or other clinging vegetation along these structures. The plants make your property look greener while reducing the likelihood that there will be graffiti problems. Planting native shrubs with prickly or thorny foliage near walls and fences can also deter vandals.  
  • Murals - Graffiti vandals also like having clean canvases for their work. That’s why painting murals on garage doors or walls can deter graffiti. However, be careful what artwork you put up. Some designs and styles could give vandals the impression that their graffiti is tolerated in your neighborhood.
  • Fences - Fences can also have a nice, flat, graffiti-friendly surface. Avoid this by getting one with board gaps or lattices. That way, you can enclose your yard without inviting graffiti.
  • Other Solutions
    • Make it harder for vandals to get access to roofs of businesses by covering downspouts and moving commercial trash bins away from walls.
    • When painting your property, consider darker colors that are less attractive to graffiti vandals.
    • Increase lighting or use motion-activated lights around your property.
    • Consider applying a protective coating which provides a barrier between your property’s surface and the graffiti. Several different brands and prices are available. Check the Yellow Pages under “Graffiti Removal & Protection.”

There are many advantages when block clubs, neighborhood organizations and other groups band together to protect their environment. But remember, always report graffiti when you see it, and do not remove it from public property.

  • Form a neighborhood graffiti removal crew and help those who are not able to do so themselves.
  • Get neighborhood businesses to sponsor clean-up and prevention efforts.
  • Create a watch force for areas frequently vandalized.
  • Involve community youth in removing graffiti.
  • Help identify and apprehend graffiti writers involved in graffiti.