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ACA Retrenches in Blight Fight

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

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Coating suppliers are sharpening their focus for the next wave in the multimillion-dollar battle against graffiti with new resources and a new name.

The American Coatings Association's newly rechristened Graffiti Resource Council plans to expand the efforts of its 20-year-old predecessor, the National Council to Prevent Delinquency. The delinquency group was founded in 1994 in response to the City of Chicago's ban on retail sales of spray paint.

The Graffiti Resource Council's primary mission is "to prevent graffiti vandalism and provide creative solutions that promote graffiti-free communities," the organization said in announcing the name change.

Graffiti
Graffiti Resource Council

The newly rechristened Graffiti Resource Council aims to provide resources and "creative solutions" that can help rid communities of graffiti. The council is funded by aerosol paint makers.

The organization's services include a graffiti newswire, an "Ask the Experts" service in which technical experts field individual questions, and a Marketplace of anti-graffiti products and services.

What Graffiti Costs

No reliable comprehensive figures exist for the cost of graffiti in the United States, according to Keep America Beautiful. However, even regional, older information makes clear that the tab surpasses tens of millions of dollars.

For example, the organization says:

  • In 2006, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and Metro in Los Angeles County tabbed their graffiti removal cost at $28 million.
  • Pittsburgh, PA, spends about $350,000 annually for graffiti cleanup; Omaha, NE, about $100,000.
  • In 2006, the Tennessee Department of Transportation spent more than $240,000 to remove graffiti from its roads and bridges.
  • Denver, CO, and Milwaukee, WI, each spend about $1 million annually; Houston, TX, about $2.2 million; Las Vegas, more than $3 million.
  • Chicago, IL, budgeted $6.5 million in 2006 for graffiti removal.

Coating Makers

The Graffiti Resource Council is a 501(c)(6) organization under the umbrella of the American Coatings Association, which represents paint and coating manufacturers. The Council's work is funded by members of the aerosol coatings industry.

Phila Mural
Philadelphia Mural Arts Program

The GRC distinguishes between illegal graffiti and street art such as "We the Youth," produced by the Philadelphia Mural Arts program. The Council offers to partner with organizations that promote street art.

"Throughout its history, the Council has helped develop effective policies and comprehensive programs to deter graffiti vandalism and the crimes associated with it," the ACA said.

Specifically, spray-paint makers have been trying to develop anti-graffiti strategies that do not involve restrictions and bans on product displays and sales.

(The Council is careful to distinguish between illegal graffiti—unlawful marking of someone else's property without permission—and legitimate street art.)

'Responsible Retailing'

Rather than lock up products or limit sales, the Council has pursued a program called Responsible Retailing. The program involves educating store employees, "strategic placement of signs," and "prudent display of spray paint."

Through the program, the Council has partnered with retailers to reduce shoplifting of graffiti tools and to stop illegal sales, according to ACA.

Bridge graffiti
Mikko J. Putkonen / Wikimedia Commons

State and local authorities spend tens of millions of dollars to remove graffiti from roads, bridges and other public infrastructure.

The Council takes partial credit for helping to implement Responsible Retailing instead of lock-up ordinances in more than 18 U.S. cities, including Detroit, Baltimore and Sacramento.

What's New

The new GRC says it plans to:

  • Expand its efforts with the business community by offering resources that highlight innovative methods of graffiti prevention through new technologies;
  • Partner with communities in support of urban art to beautify neighborhoods; and
  • Provide opportunities for communities to benchmark their efforts and learn from other successful programs.
Paint Store
amovementofmany.org

Aerosol paint makers say "prudent" store displays and better employee education can help discourage paint shoplifting without having to lock up the product.

“We are excited to carry on the Council’s mission with an expanded portfolio of services for communities, aerosol coatings manufacturers, and retail stores,” said GRC Executive Director Heidi McAuliffe.

“While our focus remains the same, the Graffiti Resource Council will be a high-energy resource for communities to eliminate and prevent graffiti vandalism.” 

   

Tagged categories: Aerosol coatings; American Coatings Association (ACA); Coatings manufacturers; Graffiti; Graffiti removal; Graffiti-resistant coatings; Murals

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