How to prevent graffiti vandalism

How to prevent graffiti vandalism
Photo: Mehaniq, BS

When it comes to dealing with graffiti vandalism, prevention is always more cost effective than repair. Rather than having to constantly replace windows and paint over graffiti, homes and businesses can take advantage of preventative methods to avoid being targeted by vandals.

Preventing graffiti vandalism can take several different approaches, from discouragement to protective measures. Preparing vulnerable areas such as windows with graffiti-resistant film and movement sensing lighting can help to stop graffiti vandalism before it starts.

Whether you’ve been the target of vandalism before or want to secure a vulnerable area of your property, consider the following approaches to help stop graffiti vandalism.

Security measures

Motion sensing lights are one of the most affordable and powerful deterrents for vandals. These lights will only turn on if they detect motion, exposing vandals and alerting authorities. Potential vandals won’t like being caught in the light, and the fear of being seen is often enough to deter them from the area.

If your property is located in an area where lighting won’t be as effective, other security measures such as roller doors and reinforced glass can slow down vandals and make their lives harder. Even small security measures that discourage vandalism can still benefit property owners, as vandals usually seek easy to access and unsecured properties to damage.

False CCTV cameras are another inexpensive way to discourage vandals. These cameras look realistic enough to be believable, with some models even moving back and forth. False CCTV cameras should be placed in areas where they can be easily seen, as this will lead vandals to believe they’re being monitored. It’s also important that the cameras are properly protected so they can’t be targeted or broken.

Scratch-proof glass

Glass windows are one of the more frequently targeted sites of vandalism. As many everyday items can be used to scratch or ‘etch’ graffiti onto the surface, glass and windows are vulnerable. Scratch-proofing windows by putting a film onto the glass can provide a ‘sacrificial layer’ of protection, which is easily disposed of and replaced, leaving the glass in good condition.

Preventing graffiti with a protective film can be much cheaper than removing and replacing glass. If damage has already occurred then property owners can choose to polish out scratches and apply a new film, which is still cheaper than replacing the glass.

Building design

Protecting vulnerabilities in your building design can be a good way to discourage vandals. Large blank surfaces which are out of view encourage graffiti as they’re unlikely to have passing pedestrians or cars interrupting vandals. Similarly, windows which are lower down and within reach can be easily broken or vandalised.

Designing so that graffiti prone areas are highly visible or hard to reach can help to prevent vandalism by making vandals activity more difficult. Planting shrubs or trees against walls and other surfaces can also help to discourage vandals or cover up their previous graffiti.

If your property has been graffitied at a height higher than six feet, the vandals may have used material in the area to climb up. Check to see if furniture or other materials that you have around your property could have been used. If they are out of position you may want to consider removing them or bolting them down.

Discourage vandals

Best practice to discourage vandalism is to remove or cover up graffiti as soon as possible. This not only negates the work of the vandals, but also sends a message to them that their ‘artwork’ won’t be visible for long.

Property owners that have already been targeted by vandals should not attempt to address them directly, such as with a sign threatening repercussions. This has been shown to encourage further vandalism of the property.

Instead, clearing graffiti and adopting effective non-confrontational methods can make vandalism less likely. This can ultimately lead to vandals being discouraged from targeting certain properties. With the right outlook and approach, property owners can protect against vandalism and help to discourage graffiti.