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What To Do About Garden Graffiti Vandalism

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Temporary solution to the graffiti vandalism on my garden fence

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?

Graffiti vandalism on my garden fence

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  1. Hey Shawna, I actually think the faces are not so bad, it’s the ‘extra’ stuff they tagged that’s the bigger problem. Put a sign up that you want to hire the taggers to more completely finish the project…with your input of course…you never know…

  2. mary has a good ideal, but think I might just shabby chic the fence in a beach driftwood like color to cover it up. Chin up and you are awesome!!

  3. In each circle but the letters that spell out Love. If feel everyone lately is miserable, my husband works with a lady that constantly abuses only him. I work with a women who drives me crazy I want to tell them both Jesus loves you so I must love you. Maybe if they know they are loved they will stop all this. Well it’s at least a thought, our garage has been vandalized twice and our house has been robbed twice but what can you do you have to roll with the punches I guess. Pam

  4. I would eliminate the graffiti as soon as possible. My feelings are that if you engage the party or parties responsible you cannot know what their reaction might be. This time they didn’t do any damage to your garden. Next time……….Don’t challenge them. Just erase their tracks.

  5. It is a question of understanding boundaries and respecting people…we have too many people now who think it is OK to do whatever they want and not have any consequences. it is no big deal they will say…they need to come over and paint the fence…

  6. So, I looked at the original graffiti for a bit and realized what I was looking at was 4 human emoticons: Ambiguity, Sorrow, Happiness and Anger. I kind of agree with Mary’s comment, that it wasn’t so bad, except for the extra stuff. These kids (I’m assuming they’re kids) need a healthy, creative outlet for their own emotions. I’m not sure our community has many options for them. I’m stopping at a community garden in West Chicago tomorrow and meeting with a woman there. I think it is such a sad thing that our own town has not one community garden. A community garden could bring so many people from so many backgrounds together… instead of dividing and excluding. Oh well… maybe one of these years.

  7. Agreed. I wish, Therese, that Warrenville had a community garden and a movement to involve our teens and children in growing. I think it breeds a positive attitude to do so. I’m hoping it will develop into more. ๐Ÿ™‚

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