Case Studies

Case Study #1

City of West Hollywood

Customer Profile

West Hollywood is a city located in Los Angeles County and as of 2010, its population was 34,399. Superior has been providing Steam Cleaning / Pressure Washing Services to the City of West Hollywood since 2008. Our contract provides for cleaning of public sidewalks and street furnishings (bus benches; poles; utility boxes; trash receptacles etc.) along Santa Monica Boulevard and Hollywood Boulevard.

Situation

The City of West Hollywood's requirements and expectations:

  • Embrace their core values relating to sustainability in relations to all services provided including recycling of bi-products and the use of non-combustion engine powered equipment and noise pollution.
  • Be sensitive to the needs of their roughly 38,000 resident comprising of 37% gays and lesbians'; 19% Senior citizens and 9% recent immigrants from the former Soviet Union.
  • Provide additional service for the clean-up of the streets area along Hollywood Boulevard after special events to insure cleanup is completed in time for business morning rush hour
  • Possess a California State Contractor's License (C-61 Limited Specialty / D-38 Sand and Water Blasting)

Solution

Superior developed a custom all propane powered pressure washer and recycling and water recovery system. We provide additional service, multiple pressure washers and crews for the clean-up of the street area along Hollywood Boulevard after special events like the Halloween Street Festival; the Gay Rights Parade and the CSW Parade which attract as many as 40,000 additional people to the City of West Hollywood. Superior acquired a California State Contractor's License (C-61 Limited Specialty / D-38 Sand and Water Blasting).

Case Study 2

Case Study #2

City of Anaheim

Customer Profile

Anaheim's city limits stretch from Cypress in the west to the Riverside County line in the east and encompass a diverse collection of neighborhoods and communities. It is most populated city in Orange County and the 10th most-populated city in California. July 2012, Superior was awarded the contract for Graffiti abatement.

Situation

When Superior acquired the contract, the city had a backlog of graffiti removal requests/work orders exceeding 3,000 requests, some more than 6 months old.

Solution

Superior formulated a plan of action… the "Anaheim Graffiti Blitz". Superior staged several blitzes on consecutive weekends using as many as 25 graffiti abatement trucks assigned to specific areas. We created a staging area and arranged to have our vendors deliver paint and supplies. Our staging area also included on site mobile color matching equipment; a computer system to update work order requests and on site breakfast, lunch and water break areas for our crews.

Benefits

Prior to starting this contract:

  • Superior hired and trained Anaheim residents obtained through Anaheim Jobs
  • Obtained additional warehouse and office space in central Anaheim
  • Purchased 12 new trucks and all new paint sprayers and pressure washers.

After successfully completing the "Blitz" we implemented our maintenance program by dividing the City into 7 Zero Tolerance zones and assigning crews to patrol each zone to quickly complete all work orders within 24 hours and remove graffiti proactively to reduce the graffiti in each area. We now receive over 95% positive surveys and near 100% of all work orders are completed within 24 hours of reporting. Superiors' methods work.

Case Study #3

Graffiti Facts : Costs of Graffiti

What Does Graffiti Cost Us?

Graffiti vandalism comes with a terrible price. Experts from the NoGraf Network performed a study on the cost of graffiti. In 1990, the National Graffiti Information Network survey estimated annual graffiti costs in the U.S. at $8 Billion. By the late 1990's, it was $15 Billion per year.

At the June 2008 NoGraf Network Conference of experts from the U.S. and around the world, the annual costs of graffiti was now estimated to be $25 Billion in the US.

A 2006 survey of the 88 cities, Caltrans and Metro in Los Angeles County on graffiti removal found the cost was about $28 million.

Keep in mind that this cost does not include costs incurred by private property or business owners and it does not include any amount due to loss of business or decreased property value in graffiti prone areas.

Homeowner costs.

While performing the survey quoted above the NoGraf Network was told by the California Realtors Association that by their estimates purchase prices for homes decreased 20% in areas that are victimized by graffiti vandalism. With the median home price in California at the time being $522,590 you are talking about an impact to a property owner of nearly a $100,000. The economic impact of graffiti is immense.

Societal costs.

Perhaps an even stronger impact comes in the areas hardest to quantify. Decreased perception of safety, lower community pride, at risk youth, these are all effects of vandalism in a community. So well documented is the change to perception in safety when a neighborhood is covered in graffiti that no matter the setting from film to press conferences graffiti is shown in the background if a message of urban decay is desired.

Neighborhood and business impact.

The National Urban Institute has identified five neighborhood impacts from graffiti.

Intimidates residents
The far majority of the population has little understanding of graffiti culture and often time assumes that the vandalism in their neighborhood is the work of gangs. Their feeling of safety and security is diminished because of the fear of violent criminals. Sadly, assaults by vandals against property owners and other residents during a confrontation are becoming more common each year.
Scares Away Customers
Graffiti gives the impression that an area is economically depressed. People may believe a property or business owner does not care about the image the business is presenting. Customers may believe that if the property owner does not care about the outside of his store then they may not care about quality or good customer service. And the perception of decreased safety can make customers feel uneasy about being in an area that has graffiti.
Discourages Tourism
The same perception of safety factor works here as well. When visiting, tourists are usually seeking places of beauty and enjoyment in an area, not graffiti scrawled on every available surface.
Invites Street Gangs and other vandals
Whether the graffiti has been applied by gangs to communicate with their members and rivals, or by writers pursuing fame, vandals frequently choose areas where graffiti stays up and visible. The longer their graffiti stays up the longer their message is delivered. The amount of graffiti in an area and the time it is allowed to remain directly influence the amount of additional graffiti that will appear.
Attracts crime in general
The same neglect perceived by customers and tourists is also observed by criminals. Very few criminals pursue crime that brings them into direct confrontations with their victims or into the public eye. A neighborhood that is covered with graffiti and trash leads a criminal to believe that people who live and work in the area don't care or have given up. This is a breeding ground for increased crime.

The impact on youth.

The impact of graffiti on a young life is often the strongest and harder to repair. Vandals tend to develop antisocial tendencies for fear of identification and betrayal, the majority abuse alcohol and drugs, the practice of stealing or "racking" paint is widespread and a general disrespect for law or property is gained. None of these are traits or actions that a responsible parent wants to see their child involved in.

If a vandal reaches a level of volume before detection and prosecution they often face misdemeanor charges sometimes in the hundreds as well as multiple felonies. An effective graffiti enforcement strategy can result in vandals that face jail or prison time, huge fines and restitution amounts, probation and other penalties.

In one case study the vandal was sentenced to 13 months in prison, 4 years of probation with associated fees, a felony record, and $44,000 in restitution. The court also allowed for any remaining restitution due at the end of the vandals probation to be converted to a civil judgment, renewable every ten years until satisfied. The future of this vandal would have been impacted for many years had the dangerous alcohol fused lifestyle he had adopted led to his accidental death a few years later.

Again, the costs of graffiti in terms of hard numbers and its effect on society are enormous.

Additional Information and Resources:

Graffiti Hurts is a prominent national anti-graffiti educational organization: graffitihurts.org. Its website contains:

  • Facts about the problems graffiti causes
  • Tips on preventing graffiti
  • Anti-graffiti lessons for each grade level
  • Suggestions on how to establish anti-graffiti laws and work with police
  • Effective methods of removal
  • Best practice approaches to community organizing on the issue
  • An annual grant program to help fund cities' antigraffiti efforts

NoGraf Network and Residents Against Graffiti Everywhere each provide a variety of additional information about combating graffiti.

The National Crime Prevention Council offers further facts and figures about the harm caused by graffiti, the benefits of graffiti prevention, and how to make prevention effective. 

According to the National Council to Prevent Delinquency, about 80% of graffiti is hip hop or "tagger" graffiti. Another 5% are "pieces." Nationally, gang graffiti makes up about 10%.

  • A "tag" is the graffiti vandal's moniker applied quickly and repeatedly.
  • A "throw-up" is a more elaborate tag, usually done in two or more colors. Vandals often use balloon letters, which are filled in or left as outlines.
  • "Pieces" (short for "masterpieces") are large, detailed drawings. They are colorful and can include cartoon-like characters.
  • Generic or conventional graffiti includes random markings, initials, declarations of love, graduation events ("Class of 2000"), social commentary, profanity and other non-threatening messages. Generic graffiti has no particular style. 
  • Gang graffiti is used to mark gang territory, list members, offer drugs or contraband for sale or send warnings to rivals. It may include letters, symbols or numbers known only by gangs and law enforcement.
  • Hate or ideological graffiti consists of any racial, religious or cultural slur.

Graffiti is the most common type of property vandalism (35%) according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Most studies show the majority of "taggers" are males between 12 and 21 years old. Approximately 15% of graffiti vandals are young females.

Arrest data from 17 major cities shows that 50% to 70% of all street-level graffiti is created by suburban adolescents, predominately males between the ages of 12 and 19.