Graffiti is not just words and symbols sprayed on a wall. It is an act of vandalism that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars to clean up every year.
If not immediately removed, graffiti sends out the message that "nobody cares" about the area. It causes the area to look unsafe and makes people concerned about their personal safety. This creates an open invitation for more littering, loitering, and other graffiti. As a result of graffiti, pride in a community may decrease, businesses may suffer, and neighborhoods as a whole can deteriorate.
Graffiti is not art—it's a CRIME!
Children and young adults become involved in graffiti vandalism for a number of reasons: peer recognition, the element of danger, gang association, and lack of appropriate parental supervision and discipline.
Yes, there are basically two kinds:
- Tagging Graffiti – Graffiti does not necessarily mean that gangs are in your neighborhood. The vast majority of graffiti is written by taggers. These individuals gain "fame" or status from other taggers by painting their distinctive "tags" or nicknames in as many places as possible. They may also paint "pieces" which are highly stylized murals. Quick removal of graffiti is important because it discourages more tagging.
- Gang Graffiti – This form of graffiti is less common and is done mostly by gang members and their associates and is usually limited to a specific home turf claimed by the gang. Such graffiti is a method of communication that is used to promote gangs, mark territories, recruit new members, or intimidate neighborhoods.
The City of Escondido operates the Anti-Graffiti Program to assist property owners in discouraging and removing graffiti vandalism on private property. Although the City of Escondido dedicates significant resources to control graffiti, the City cannot be effective acting alone. Private citizens are encouraged to take active steps toward maintaining their individual property, and organizing neighborhood cleanup efforts.
Any person owning, leasing, occupying, or having permission to maintain property in Escondido.
Permitting or allowing graffiti to remain on your property is a public nuisance. Graffiti not only makes our residential neighborhoods and our business communities look unattractive, it affects our property values, business sales, and the community's image. Ignoring graffiti gives the mistaken impression that it is acceptable and only invites more. It will take the awareness, support, and participation of all to combat the increasing problem of graffiti.
Call the Escondido Graffiti Hotline at 760-839-4OFF (4633) or use our online form to report graffiti within Escondido city limits. Always give the address/location of the graffiti, a brief description of the graffiti, and your name and telephone number so that City personnel can contact you if further information is needed.
You can also improve Escondido's appearance by calling 760-839-6360 to volunteer for a neighborhood paint-out. You can also participate in the "We Clean Escondido" Adopt-a-Block litter removal program by calling the Recycling Hotline at 760-839-4818 and listening for information on "We Clean Escondido."
City workers from the Streets Division remove graffiti from any public or private property in the city at no cost to the property owner.
The division uses high-pressure wash and airless paint spray equipment to eradicate graffiti and has a large collection of paint to match the property's paint color. If the property owner elects to perform the graffiti removal and has not done so within a reasonable period of time, a letter of notification will be sent to the property owner requesting the graffiti be removed within 10 days.
- Remove graffiti from your property immediately
- Plant shrubs or vines in areas that have graffiti problems
- If you see graffiti vandalism in progress, call 9-1-1 and report it immediately to the Escondido Police
- Report existing graffiti to the Graffiti Hotline 760-839-4OFF (4633)
Graffiti vandalism is a misdemeanor and violators can be severely punished. Vandals may receive a sentence of up to six months in prison, be required to perform community service, pay fines, make restitution to the property owner, and/or attend educational classes. In addition, juveniles may lose their driver's license or have their driving privileges deferred. Parents of taggers may be ordered to pay a fine and restitution, and attend classes or participate in community service with their juvenile.