Problems with the Council’s Graffiti Reduction Strategy

Problems with the Council’s Graffiti Reduction Strategy

The Brighton Society has been reporting in more detail on the increase of graffiti since April 1st, which seems to be a very appropriate starting date when considering some of the approaches from the Environment, Transport & Sustainability Committee that are being put forward as solutions to the graffiti problem in the city.

Here are some of the solutions the Environment, Transport & Sustainability Committee propose in their Graffiti Reduction Strategy Update 25 June 2019 and the Brighton Society’s response to them.

  • Explore the use of graffiti resistant surfaces in hotspot areas using graffiti

The Brighton Society have been illustrating with its graffiti maps (which are regularly updated) that the whole city has become a hot spot. The map below shows the extent of graffiti in the central area of Brighton; the problem is similar in others areas of the city. The idea of using graffiti resistant surfaces to eradicate all graffiti in the city is going to require hundreds of litres of paint and is clearly not a practical solution.

Graffiti Map 9 July 2019
  • Requiring property owners and businesses to remove graffiti or risk being fined.

Graffiti vandals regularly target Waitrose in Western Road. It costs the store £500 every time they have to clean the graffiti from their brick walls. In 2018 the cost of cleaning was around £6000. This is a business that is complying with this part of the reduction strategy, but even though Waitrose quickly clean off the graffiti it does not solve their problem. Furthermore, the suggestion that quickly removing graffiti stops the return of the vandals clearly fails to understand the vandal’s mind-set. The freshly painted or cleaned wall simply gives the graffiti vandal another blank canvas.

Waitrose Graffiti
Waitrose, Western Road
  • Remind and educate shop owners on the law relating to the sale of aerosol paints to those under 16.

How can the council stop the passing on of aerosol paints by an older graffiti vandal to an under sixteen-year-old graffiti vandal?
A possible scenario might be that a member of a graffiti crew, acting as a kind of mentor figure, could give the aerosol paint to a “Toy” – a term for an unskilled, new or inexperienced graffiti artist or writer – who might be under sixteen, to teach them some simple styles like Throw-ups or Wildstyle.

Graffiti London Road
Graffiti Beaconsfield Road

One of the problems with the removal of graffiti will be how do the council decide what is acceptable street art and what isn’t. Often there is a situation where the affected wall has different types of graffiti on it, such as tags, wildstyle and murals. Therefore, if a decision is made for example, that murals are acceptable how is the enforcement team able to tackle the removal of graffiti on walls such as the ones in the photographs below?

Different graffiti styles – Brighton
Mural Graffiti
Regent Street, Brighton
Kensington Street, Brighton

The Brighton Society, along with the council, would like to see all graffiti removed from all our streets and walls. We would be prepared to give our assistance to any meaningful planning on this issue in the future.

The angel image was taken on 15th March 2019.

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