This article is a post that comes from Greening Forward’s legacy blog. It was originally written by Charles Orgbon on September 11, 2010.
Published: Dec 30, 2020
When asked about graffiti, Don H. Arnold, the director of the Environmental Enforcement Department for Spartanburg County, might say, “Graffiti hurts.” He says, “Graffiti and tagging is not an art form or about expressing oneself as some would have you believe. It is vandalism and the destruction of private and public property. Graffiti and tagging cause blight in our communities resulting in a genuine threat to the quality of life, incalculable economic losses to businesses, and can lead to the general deterioration of the area in which you live or work.”
“Four years ago I knew two things about graffiti. [I knew] that it was all gang-related and that it was ugly. I was right it was ugly but I was wrong about it being all gang-related. Studies show that only 10% of all graffiti is gang-related, the rest is done by kids of every race and a social group from big cities to small towns. Armed with this information I started on a quest to rid my community of this blight,” recalls Linda Kleiner, the leader of a community group called Together Against Graffiti, or TAG.
Linda Kleiner believes that there is hope. She and her group offer an educational comic book titled “Troubling Signs” about graffiti that can help educate kids using a different and appealing method that might be more appealing to youth. The comic books are only $3 and can be requested at http://www.togetheragainstgraffiti.com/.One can also join her e-mailing list and learn more about graffiti from her website.
Parents are an important part of the equation. In fact, it is parents who must be aware of the signs of a graffiti tagger to stop this community problem. Linda Kleiner reminds us that, “Taggers come in all ages; we have had them as young as 6 years old, caught on tape tagging.”
Does your child:
1. Have a large collection of markers?
2. Have a notebook with designs and letters?
3. Have a collection of bingo daubers or bleach pens?
4. Have spray paint cans?
5. Have paint on their clothing or hands?
6. Have a collection of glass cutters, screwdrivers, or bug sprays?
7. Leave for school early and stay out late? 8. Have graffiti magazines and go on graffiti websites.
Linda Kleiner feels sad when she sees graffiti because she thinks of how that child wasn’t taught right from wrong. The child is so in need of attention that he is crying out for it in such a way that he or she risks having a criminal record for a few seconds of “fun”. It is said that a community has to suffer for someone who has no self-control, sad for what will come of the child, and sad wondering if he will go on to other crimes.
Linda Kleiner is not the only one feeling sad about graffiti! Nicole Boone from WBTW Channel 13 News says, “When I see these images it makes me sad. I am sad because whoever did the graffiti probably lacks the love and support he or she needs to make the right decisions in life, and obviously does not care about the feelings or property of others. I am also sad because someone or someone’s property has basically been vandalized and thus a crime has been committed against them. I believe the only way to stop this kind of activity is for everyday people to reach out to those who feel they have to express their feelings by destroying other people’s property. It’s my opinion that if we reach out to prospective graffiti offenders with love and support, then graffiti will stop.”
For all of you that are saddened by the sight of graffiti, you should know that some of your local government officials aren’t pleased with graffiti in our community. According to Steven Powers, a Florence City Council Member, local governments are passing laws all the time against graffiti and our downtown has guidelines that help to prevent that sort of activity in our city. Another Florence City Council Member, Octavia Williams-Blake says, “I think drawing and defacing public/private property with this art [without] permission is illegal and wrong and the perpetrators should be punished.” Octavia Williams-Blake goes on to tell me that, “Our City makes an effort to get areas that are defaced cleaned as quickly as possible.”
Now that we know why this is important and ways we can help prevent it, we might feel the need to do something in our community now about it. Linda Shadel, the executive director of PalmettoPride shares with me that her organization will help to eradicate graffiti in communities. She explains to me that, “PalmettoPride will fund the paint costs for graffiti cleanups within the limits of our grants programs.” Before one is ready to get to work at cleaning up our communities, one might want to know a little more about graffiti. Also, from personal experience, I know that local businesses, even in this economic downturn, are willing to donate to causes like these if you would like to form your own Anti-Graffiti TaskForce. If this interests you, visithttp://www.graffitihurts.org/rapidremoval/removal.jsp.Lastly, report all graffiti to your county sheriff’s office. Kenny Boone, Florence County Sheriff, can be contacted at (843)665–2121.