Graffiti represent the public lettering or an image scrawled, marked, painted or scratched on property and is one of the oldest forms of art. It started with crude writings on the wall to street art with great style.
In any case, there is a common aspect in graffiti; the need for human to express themselves and communicate (Grant pr.6). All the same, if the markings are done without the consent from the owner of the property, then it is an act of vandalism which is a criminal offence. However, Graffiti as an artistic genre may express political or social aspects of the society. It has evolved from simple wording to complex depictions relaying racism, gang warfare and hatred. Some youths who are unable to express their feelings through music, media, prose or other legal methods embrace graffiti as an effective and accessible way to air their expressions to the public who are their audience.
In my opinion, Graffiti is more an act of vandalism than an act of art creation since it involves trespassing which ranges from markings on the walls to the highway overpass and railroads. It is a growing blight in the society which attacks private or public property and should be eliminated in totality.Graffiti as an Act of VandalismGraffiti else known as street art falls into junk graffiti, gang and tagging. Junk graffiti involves racist, threats and absence themes although it is not related to gang. Tagging was observed as a nonviolent way to scarily gang activities although it’s recently considered as an offence which involves assault and burglary. Tagging bears a gang affiliation that is direct (Pereira 6).
It is usually well organized and planned carefully by a crew of individuals who crave for identification and recognition. All forms of graffiti lower the standards of life in regions involved and present one of the formidable challenges in efforts to communicate nonverbally in the society. It has not yet been taken seriously by the criminal justice system as an act of crime. However, the crime should be combated by whatsoever means to stop the spread of graffiti. The public offence should be addressed else, it flourishes and degrades the society (Lustig pr.4).
By use of spray paints, etching tools, or markers ,graffiti ‘writers’ are motivated by artistic expression, power, fame and rebellion common in the culture of hip-hop. It may trigger a sense of satisfaction in pursuing their desire to be famous, communicate or express their views. “Communication is an important attribute of graffiti that law enforcement and community leaders should understand as they attempt to address the problem.”(Grant pr.15) Many individuals involved in the act of graffiti see it as a way to relay messages to the gang members and do not think is as a way to damage other’s property as perceived by law enforcers. In the gang community, graffiti is used as a way to mark, claim, define fight for, protect and identify their territory in a non verbal way.
This territoriality triggers violence among rival gangs eventually leading to moral degradation in the society.Moreover, graffiti downgrade the economy through monetary losses in educating the masses and in the cleanup exercises. Graffiti degrades the citizen’s psychological wellbeing and declines the aesthetic value of the community (Black pr.8). In addition to depreciating property value, graffiti triggers fear to those who abides to the law and trend to avoid such places. The places are left for the gang community to thrive thus defacing the territory more and more which e eventually cause the rise of criminal activities which devastates the society.
If graffiti is allowed to remain visible to the public, a strong message of community’s moral decay is sent and may encourage other crimes to grow. Therefore, it is advisable to remove graffiti immediately it appears to contain acts of vandalism.The social and economic impact of graffiti is very significant not forgetting the feelings of fear, disgust and anger it engenders. Graffiti poses a great threat to the society and programs should be designed to curb them (Schamess pr.1). Public awareness of effects of graffiti as vandalism should be created for the public to report any case of such actions through hotlines.
The society should be made aware of graffiti as a serious crime that is punishable by law and youths may be directed to other better ways of expressing themselves. The offenders should be punished by wiping all the graffiti present within a territory and bear any cost undertaken. Spray paint should be sold responsibly to avoid defacing of properties by minors or hooligans. To investigate cases of graffiti, specialists in forensics should be used to analyze the handwritings and depictions essential to identify the vandals.