Graffiti Is Destructive — And Illegal, Police Say

Find out how you can rid of graffiti.

By Newark Police

How colorful. How creative. How interesting. How about destructive.

We see it throughout our country, no matter where we travel, where we visit; the signs of graffiti seem to have infiltrated every walk of life.

From a rail car, to the side of a building, to school yards and some of the most unimaginable places, we find graffiti.

Regardless of the “quality” and yes, some can be very creative; graffiti is a significant drain on public resources. The process to remove these drawings or "tags” can be very time consuming to remove, requiring expensive materials and effort that could be spent elsewhere.

The inherent problem is that one act of graffiti encourages many acts of graffiti.

Whether it is a territorial issue or just simply one’s ego driving them to outdo others, it is rare that other graffiti marks or “tags" don't begin showing up around or even on top of the first incident.

This compounds the problem, increases the overall unattractiveness of the area and makes removal much more difficult. Taking time to promptly remove graffiti from your property will reduce the chances of others applying their marks, “tags” or drawings.


  • If you notice graffiti on your property, paint it over as soon as possible. This lets these “artists” know that your property is not an acceptable place for their “work.”
  • If you see active graffiti taking place, contact the police! It is a crime and important for us to catch these taggers.

To learn more about crime prevention or become involved our Graffiti Abatement Volunteer programs please contact: Tim Jones, special assistant to the Community Engagement Division of the Newark Police Department at 510-578-4209 or tim.jones@newark.org.

James Nelson April 04, 2012 at 07:47 PM
I'm down with Street Art! Perhaps Newark should allow Street Artists to Tag Designated Walls similar to how Chicago does. Call it, Spin it however you like, but it would be a Positive step in the right direction to curb it. Just telling someone it's Illegal, makes them want to do it even more because "Art" isn't Illegal no matter where it's Printed. Geez, I seriously need to stop hanging out with Artist Types!!!
Suzanne Flusche April 04, 2012 at 08:04 PM
Yo James- how about a show of real support for the creative people of Newark? You like spray paint ? Buy a wall of your own and invite the thugs over. It's idiotic to equate illegal and destructive activity with Artist Types. We will curb taggers when the creeps who spew their cr*p are required to pay for the clean up. Art is creative, not destructive, cowardly and clandestine.
James Nelson April 04, 2012 at 08:18 PM
Been there, done that! A lot of the Artists who came to spray paint my walls were hella good with a Can! Even better with Pencils, made friends with some of them and they now attend Art Institutes all over the Bay Area. Now I admit, at least 60% of the "Art" was "EFF NPD" and "Kill Pigs", but for the most part 40% had real value!
James Nelson April 04, 2012 at 09:41 PM
Oh and by the way, not all Graffiti is committed by "Thugs". I knew kids with 4.0 GPA who used to Tag just because it was a way of Release. Personally, I can't draw for shit whether it's with a Spray Can or a Paintbrush. I always did the Permanent Marker thing instead, usually on School & Traffic Signs. I'd either put my Street Name, or Acronyms. Some of my Stuff can still be found over near the Dumbarton Bridge, slightly faded as it's been over a Decade, but still there! Next time I'm in the Bettencourt area, I'll get out and stroll the Train Tracks. That's where I did most of my "Words of Wisdom" LOL.
Lisa Kphotoalbums April 05, 2012 at 09:28 PM
There is a difference between Art and Tagging...and if you want to create an area for 'artists' to 'perform' publicly I am all for that...However the sound walls and buildings are not for that purpose. It doesn't matter if it is as good as Picasso or just another Tagger showing off his initials. Point is it isn't wanted on the walls...the other thing you may not know is this: as one person tags a wall, say a wall the backs up to your home, others will want to show of 'their abilities' and tag their also...it soon becomes a competition between people...be it single or groups of people. Not everyone wants this 'art' on their walls, and it became necessary to make a law saying so. In and of itself it may 'seem' minor, but, what it results in is not. In the end it doesn't matter if 40 percent was 'good art'...it IS defacing property, it IS bringing down the neighborhoods, it IS costing money to property owners and the public. It Is making the area look bad, trashy, look like the people who live here do not care about How they live. The crux of it is it starts to become that way if it is allowed to stay. That Has been studied. That is why it quickly removed. I am all for Artists Havens, Lofts, Walls for Expression...Just can't be everywhere disregarding Others homes, fences, public walls, etc. I would Love to see Newark, UC, Fremont have such...maybe then those 40 percent would find more places to share their Art than walls and bridges.


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