Did you know that graffiti is not only a nuisance but also a crime? In Washington State it is considered Malicious Mischief in the 3rd degree when done without the property owners consent.

Graffiti has been used for centuries as an expression of art. The problem arises when it is vandalism.   Gangs use their own unique form to “tag” or mark their territory or to serve as an indicator of gang-related activities. Others use it as a way to send other messages they have a strong belief in. Yet for others, it is basically for defacement purposes. The result is a nuisance and the best way to hinder future graffiti is to remove it immediately. If you try to ignore the graffiti it can be an invitation for the vandals to return and do it to other properties in the area. In some cities and counties you may face a fine if it is not removed within a reasonable time.  If your property has been targeted the following are some tips to remove the graffiti:

  1. Report the graffiti to local law enforcement.
  2. Take a photo of the graffiti before removing it.
  3. If possible, use a pressure washer to remove dirt, mildew or other materials that would prevent new paint from adhering.  At minimum, clean all surfaces to be painted.
  4. Use a matching paint or a neutral color like gray, white or beige. Paint it in a block or square, making sure that the paint covers all the way to the top and to the bottom. This method is less noticeable, preventing further vandalism.

Some cities and counties provide tools to help communities keep their property and communities graffiti free. Check with your local city council to see if there are volunteers in the area to assist or if there is a Graffiti Abatement Group close to you.

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"With the help of VSS, you are empowered and encouraged to fight back and be pro-active. Then your conscience can be more at peace because you know you have taken some action to protest crimes inflicted on your loved one. It is sometimes your only consolation."

“The one takeaway for me in working with VSS is that it is a necessary organization. I know they are funded by grants and fundraisers but it’s something we need to make sure as a community that they have the funding needed because what they do for people in need doesn’t happen anywhere else. This is the only place that this happens and VSS helps with so many things.”

David Rose

Anchor, Q13 News and Host, Washington’s Most Wanted

“VSS is there when the unthinkable happens.  When a police officer knocks on your door and gives you tragic news, VSS helps navigate the court system, which can be very confusing. VSS is compassion, caring, and commitment. Commitment to once justice is done that victims and their families can move forward with their lives.”

Jennifer Gregerson

Mayor, City of Mukilteo

“VSS has been our partner in recovery and healing and a key part in what makes Mukilteo Strong. VSS has been a trusted advocate for the victims that have suffered so much in the community.  I’m so grateful to VSS as our partner in strength.”

Jon Nehring

Mayor, City of Marysville

“VSS is there for people in their darkest hour. At a time when they need an advocate and friend, VSS steps in to fill that gap and help them begin their journey back to some sense of normalcy.” 

Myrle Carner

Crime Stoppers of Puget Sound

“This thing about closure. There is never really closure in a victim’s life but VSS helps individuals to get closer to that and that’s critical because the cops and the judicial system just move on to another case because they don’t have time. Victims live with this trauma forever so VSS is with them for as long as they need the services. VSS takes the time, more importantly, they really care."

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