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Coating Group to Lead Graffiti Effort

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

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Frustrated with anti-graffiti policies that focus on spray paint retailers, the American Coatings Association has assumed direct management of the National Council to Prevent Delinquency.

Sponsored by Sherwin-Williams' Krylon and Rust-Oleum and supported by "the paint and other industries," the council says its goal is stopping the "illegal or harmful misuse of legitimate consumer products, especially by young people." (The "other industries" are not specified on its site.)

The nonprofit council was founded in 1994 after the city of Chicago banned retail sales of spray paint. The council's primary activity is the voluntary Anti-Graffiti Project.

'Misguided' Enforcement

The delinquency council's goal is "battling the spread of graffiti vandalism, and misguided state and local governmental activities aimed at restricting the sale of legitimate spray paint products," according to ACA, which represents paint and coating manufacturers, raw materials suppliers, distributors, and technical professionals.

Responsible Retailing

The "Responsible Retailing" program includes helping equip communities to eradicate graffiti.

The council says it "works diligently with state and local communities to develop comprehensive anti-graffiti programs that do not infringe on the retail shelf space for spray paint."

The council's Anti-Graffiti Project focuses on preventing and reducing graffiti vandalism, through:

  • Information and networking on community anti-graffiti efforts around the country;
  • Developing anti-graffiti curriculum materials;
  • Supply-side control assistance via "Responsible Retailing" programs;
  • Community paint banks that supply materials, develop programs and marshal volunteers to clean up or paint out graffiti; and
  • On-site consultation and support to help develop and implement effective anti-graffiti programs and ordinances.

Working with Policy Makers

The delinquency council had been managed since its founding by Hills Communications Inc., of Baltimore, MD. The firm was owned by Bob Hills, who died in December.

Now, ACA will take over the council directly, the association announced Friday (Feb. 8).

ACA described Hills as "a fierce friend of the aerosol paint industry" who thwarted "multiple proposed bans or lock-up ordinances for spray paint."

“Bob’s sharp wit and professionalism will be greatly missed, but we are fortunate that he developed a comprehensive model for working with communities to address graffiti vandalism,” said NCPD acting executive director Heidi McAuliffe.

Montana Store LA

"Supply side" sales controls aimed at curbing graffiti don't work, the ACA says. In Los Angeles, Montana LA is a spray paint boutique that caters to graffiti artists.

“In spite of all evidence to the contrary, many city governments still act in the belief that they can control the supply of products used by graffiti vandals. Cities and municipalities continue to seek relative low-cost supply-side controls to graffiti vandalism such as lock-up and customer registration.

"We are looking forward to working with policy makers on real, constructive solutions to curb graffiti vandalism in our neighborhoods and communities.”

Lockup vs. 'Responsible Retailing'

According to ACA, the Council to Prevent Delinquency has been successful in blocking bans or lock-up ordinances for spray paint across the United States.

Since 1994, coating makers say, 18 large U.S. cities have rejected lock-up ordinances in favor of NCPD’s Responsible Retailing program. The cities include San Diego, Sacramento and Oakland, CA; Detroit, MI; and Baltimore, MD.

ACA describes Responsible Retailing as "a combination of in-store activities designed to reduce shoplifting of potential graffiti tools and to stop the illegal sale of spray paint, where such sale is prohibited to customers under the age of 18. It includes the education of store employees; the strategic placement of signs at display and check-out points; and the prudent display of spray paint."

For most stores, according to ACA, "Responsible Retailing will provide the awareness and security necessary to prevent illegal access to products by graffiti vandals and to retain and improve legitimate business."

Sales Impact

Retailers operating in areas under "lock-up" laws, with age or other sales restrictions, report losses of more than one-third in spray paint and related salespaint makers say.

Spray Paint Ad

An average household buys more than one can of spray paint per person per year, spending even more on other project incidentals in the same purchase, according to U.S. coating makers.

"Restricting access to, or not stocking, these products has a strong negative impact on traffic and income," says ACA. According to the group:

  • The average household buys more than one can of spray paint per person per year;
  • The amount spent on other items purchased with the spray paint, such as masking tape and sandpaper, almost always equals or exceeds that of the paint purchase;
  • Aerosol paint ranks among the top 10 or 12 items in profit-per-foot of display space in most stores; and
  • Spray paints and markers "are great traffic builders."

The delinquency council website has polled its users about the effectiveness of anti-graffiti laws, posing the question, "Do more strict ordinanaces prevent illegal graffiti?" With 85 respondents since April 20, 2011, 58 (68.2 percent) replied "no," while 27 replied "yes."


Tagged categories: Aerosol coatings; Good Technical Practice; Graffiti; Graffiti removal; Paint and Coating Sales; Retail; Spray Paint

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