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.
The City of West Hollywood's requirements and expectations:
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).
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.
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.
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.
Prior to starting this contract:
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.
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.
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.
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.
The National Urban Institute has identified five neighborhood impacts from graffiti.
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.
Graffiti Hurts is a prominent national anti-graffiti educational organization: graffitihurts.org. Its website contains:
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%.
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.