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Old 01-12-2010, 10:05 PM
Location: Quincy, Mass. (near Boston)
2,174 posts, read 3,668,295 times
Reputation: 1738


I've already posted this in the Madison and Atlanta forums in the past few months, but I'm more concerned with the possibility of this urban blight in Denver, as I'm still intrigued about moving there.

I saw a headline on denverpost.com 2-3 yrs. ago about a noticeable increase in local graffiti (never had a chance to go back a read it). I've also done research online about graffiti abatement programs in Denver which allow volunteers to help out. For example, some fire stations keep leftover paint and brushes available for volunteers to easily and cheaply clean neighborhood graffiti. Sounds too good to be true, as nothing like this exists in Boston. I called our GraffitiBusters program 10 yrs. ago after a profile of its director in the paper, but was told I'd only "get in the way" in response to volunteering my time to paint over minor tags.

I regularly call the mayor's hotline in Boston as well as write to the city's website to report such eyesores. Usually, months pass without any action. Much graffiti has been on electric boxes/traffic boxes/mailboxes for years, and will never be cleaned.

I realize it's a problem everywhere, even in desirable European cities. And I've followed it in Boston since 1985 when I first lived downtown, and started to care about my surroundings.

I find a parking meter, stop sign, mailbox, curb, sidewalk, air conditioner, light pole to be marred and bruised if it contains even the most minor tag. I want things pristine. Unrealistic? PROBABLY. But should we all give up and accept it because there are more "important" issues? What's important to you may not be important to be, and vice versa.

One city councilor near Boston propsed yrs. ago FINING merchants, landlords and shopkeepers for not cleaning graffiti within 30 days. Many cities send out a cleaning crew for free if the owner signs a waiver, allowing permission to touch their property. The city can clean public surfaces endlessly, but if adjacent private owners don't emulate, it's not fully effective.

Certainly, I now realize some people like graffiti, or don't mind it. It's the first element I notice in a new city or community. But why bother planting flowers if the cement planter gets tagged...and never cleaned off? Isn't it more cost-effective, at times, to clean graffiti rather than plant flowers and trees?

I have severe obsessive-compulsive disorder, in case many of you wonder why I'm so obsessed with this. I've tried treatment and drugs, but gave up long ago. I'd rather fight and make a difference instead of sitting back and accepting this vandalism.

I risk arrest if I try to spray over graffiti on a U.S mailbox, monument, stop sign, a newspaper box, let alone spray over tags on your garage door. I could do further damage to its surface.

If I flee to Denver and find a graffiti-infested city, I'd have to accept that, I guess. But when I got to Boston in 1978, the highways and subway lines, in addition to sidewalks and chimneys, were not targets as they are now; it's now a year-round sport, where vandals risk injury from heights and other hard-to-reach targets.

By the way, graffiti removal costs cities and transit agencies millions a year. Maybe another reason to just accept it, according to some?

Thanks for listening. Criticism is welcome, as well as understanding.
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Old 01-12-2010, 10:20 PM
Location: Uptown Denver
28 posts, read 106,137 times
Reputation: 20
Its not as bad as other places, but its definately visible. The key is removing it fast, otherwise it will get re-tagged constantly by rival gangs/taggers/etc. The city will come remove it for free, you just have to fill out a form of consent and then call them. (BTW I speaking about in the city limits, theres probably no graffiti in the burbs, but I havent been in the burbs here too much so I'm not sure)
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Old 01-13-2010, 04:49 AM
Location: on an island
13,382 posts, read 40,856,289 times
Reputation: 13244
Agree with steeljaw.
Banksy is one thing--the tags in central Denver are something else IMHO.
Neglect begets neglect.
Maybe you are already familiar with this site:
Denver Partners Against Graffiti
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Old 01-14-2010, 10:58 AM
2,755 posts, read 11,741,437 times
Reputation: 1462
This all depends on where you are. Affluent suburbs almost never see graffiti and probably never worry about it. Expensive city-center neighborhoods do see some, but the residents there will call in and have it removed. On the other hand, lower-income neighborhoods in the city of Denver and in many of its suburbs do have real problems with graffiti. I've actually talked to Denver police officers who say that they want to tackle the graffiti problem, but many of the property owners in lower-income areas are so apathetic that they can't be bothered to fill out consent forms to facilitate graffiti removal, hard as it is to believe. As steeljaw said, once tags start proliferating in an area, it tends to snowball until the citizens get their act together and do something about it.
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Old 01-14-2010, 11:28 AM
8,317 posts, read 25,783,192 times
Reputation: 9132
When I go to Denver, which is as seldom as possible, I see graffiti just about everywhere outside of the toniest suburbs. A friend's sibling who lived in Capitol Hill for years literally had to repaint his garage doors and fence every Saturday. It was pretty pathetic. The kicker for me was when I had to go to the State Capitol Building for a meeting a few years ago, and some gang-banging a*****e had tagged it. Does that answer your question?
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Old 01-14-2010, 12:14 PM
726 posts, read 1,865,549 times
Reputation: 413
I lived all over New York State and been to most major East Coast cities and Denver seems to have way less graffiti and trash then other cities I've been to.
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Old 01-14-2010, 01:59 PM
Location: Sunnyvale, CA
5,696 posts, read 9,421,143 times
Reputation: 2906
Keep fighting the fight. Use your OCD for good cause. It's determined and persistent people like you who end up getting things done including getting legislation changed. If you move to Denver, consider sitting on city council.
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Old 01-14-2010, 02:33 PM
972 posts, read 1,125,546 times
Reputation: 384
Of all the major cities I've traveled to around the world, Denver is right up there for least amount of graffiti. "Urban blight" is not a phrase I've ever heard said about Denver.
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Old 01-14-2010, 09:32 PM
Location: Governor's Park/Capitol Hill, Denver, CO
1,536 posts, read 5,510,643 times
Reputation: 1131
Graffiti in Capitol Hill and Downtown comes and goes in waves. Sometimes it is someone taking a glass cutter to all the store fronts and even the convention center windows or all street signs tagged for several blocks. It is random and rare but does happen. The key to fighting it, as others have stated, is removal and/or immediate repair. The inner city neighborhoods are different for their is a gang presence there and it is evident in what is tagged and how they communicate with what they spell out. What happens downtown is more vandalism then gang communication. Compared to other cities, Denver really does not have a major issue on their hands with it, issue - yes, major - no.
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Old 04-07-2010, 11:36 PM
1 posts, read 2,968 times
Reputation: 10
being an ex graffiti writer and traveling artist i would say denver is a small city that can be quickly cleaned. Most ally ways are the bulk of uncleaned old graffiti and also regular targets. half of the city is fairly well kept and many of the suburbs have extreamly low rates. In the city graffiti is a fact of life but Denver is a small young city with its unique charactoristics and not to be compared to any east coast city.
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