Last night my back fence garden art was spray painted with graffiti; weird smiley faces and gang symbols (see bottom photo). This vandalism made me angry. I lost a day of work because of it and feel upset at whoever is doing it because FOR THE LOVE OF GAWD WHY CAN’T WE JUST FREAKING BE NICE TO EACH OTHER!?
I know that other gardeners have experienced vandalism as well and researched what the best response is when a vandal attacks your garden or property. According to Ron Hickman, Constable of Harris County Texas, there are three types of graffiti vandalism: 1) HATE related graffiti is the least common and is directed to people of differing ethnicities, races, religions, gender, and sexual orientation; 2) GANG related graffiti that announces gang superiority and turf and represents less than 20% of all graffiti, and 3) TAGGER graffiti which is the most common graffiti and is done for personal visibility.
Constable Hickman goes on to say you should report vandalism to the authorities immediately so they are able to track it. Then cover up or remove the graffiti as soon as you are able – preferably immediately – because graffiti attracts more graffiti. Prompt and consistent action helps keep your neighborhood in good condition.
One of the best ways to prevent graffiti vandalism is to get to know your neighbors and neighborhood. It does not guarantee you will never have to deal with vandalism, but it certainly helps to know and be known in your community.
I called the police out this morning and they took some photos and put in a report. Tomorrow a local mural artist is coming out to take a look at the damage to see if we can cover up the damage by installing an inspiring mural of some kind. If not, we will ultimately have to power wash the area and remove the paint. As a temporary fix we dressed our graffiti victims the best we could to make them happy instead of angry and left a message for the neighborhood graffiti artists (see top photo with my old flower art all dressed up and holding hands). I thought that children holding hands represented our community holding hands too. But I’m still asking a question so people will think.
I’m not sure if they’ll get the message, but a lot of people will drive by and scratch their heads. Maybe someone will stop and ask. Next message I plan to put up will say, “LOVE THEY NEIGHBOR!” or “BE KIND INSTEAD OF BEING A DUMBASS!” or “BE NICE NOT MEAN!” Feel free to leave suggestions on what I should say in the next sign I put up for one of the wall people to hold in the comment section below. Of course, the situation will be all fixed up within a few days, but what words would be the most powerful on a sign like this? What are your thoughts?