Graffiti

Graffiti is a chronic, metro-area-wide problem, and segments of Lakewood have seen a recent surge in this crime.

 

Report graffiti on line by clicking Here or you may download the Request Lakewood app for your iPhone or Android device.  MORE INFORMATION

 

The first step Lakewood residents should take is to report graffiti:

  • If you see offenders in the process of painting graffiti, call the Lakewood Police Department by dialing 911.
  • Report suspicious subjects in your neighborhood. Police contact with suspicious subjects is a good way to identify possible suspects.
  • Use the City's online form to report graffiti that ALREADY exists.
  • You can also phone in a report by calling 303-987-7111.

Lakewood Municipal Court operates the City's graffiti removal program for public areas, such as sidewalks, poles, signs, utility boxes and park structures. The program uses defendants sentenced in Municipal Court to clean and paint over graffiti in public areas. Citizens who see graffiti on public or private property are encouraged to call 303-987-7111 or use the online report form.

A Lakewood ordinance requires private property owners to remove graffiti within five days after receiving a written notice from the City.

Prevention and Removal

There is no simple solution to ending graffiti, but there are some proven strategies that help reduce reoccurrence, including:

Removing it immediately whenever possible. This sends a clear message of intolerance, robbing offenders of the opportunity to brag about their work or to claim territory. Studies show that removal within 24 to 48 hours results in lower rates of reoccurrence.

 

  • Limit access to graffiti-prone areas by using fencing, lighting or hostile landscaping. Here are some landscaping suggestions that may serve as a deterrent:
    • English Ivy (Hedera helix) is a good climber that attaches to vertical walls. This ivy grows best on north- or east-facing facades of buildings.
    • Boston Ivy (Parthenocissus tricuspidata) is another good climber that will cover a wall fairly quickly. The same requirements apply, a north- or east-facing wall will do best.
    • Pyracantha (Pyracantha angustifolia) is an evergreen woody shrub. It flowers in spring, produces colorful orange berries and is covered with nasty thorns. Use an upright variety like "Yukon Belle."
    • Desert Holly (Mahonia haematocarpa) is a broad evergreen shrub. It is a drought-tolerant plant once established and has blue-green spiny leaves.  This plant will love to be on a south- or west-facing façade, but will do well with any orientation
    • Climbing Roses (Rosa species) are all good at establishing quickly and are full of thorns. Many climbing roses can grow to 10-feet once they mature.
  • Add or improve exterior lighting on your property. Business owners can increase security through cameras, a "business watch program" or security guards.
  • Some research suggests that walls with existing quality artwork, not associated with any taggers or gang members, are less likely to be marked up than blank walls. If the artwork consists of advertising, the City's code enforcement office should be contacted first to make sure there are no prohibitions. Call (303) 987-7566.
Removal

Methods for removing graffiti vary depending on the surface and material used. Property owners should consult with a graffiti removal specialist for the best way to remove graffiti. Paint department staff in home improvement stores usually can provide good information. Methods include:

  • Painting is a low-cost removal method, but be sure to match the paint to the surface color because patchwork paint can invite more graffiti.
  • Chemical removal typically employs solvents. Using mineral spirits on metal surfaces and WD-40 for plastic is also suggested. Paint thinners, however, should NOT be used on vinyl siding or plastics.
  • Power washing can remove graffiti from all surfaces, and an abrasive, such as baking soda or fine sand can be added to remove a thin layer of the surface.
  • Scraping with a razor blade can remove painted graffiti from glass, and wood surfaces can be sanded. Light rubbing with an ultra-fine steel or bronze wool pad can also be used on plastic surfaces.

 

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