Many types of criminals like to target construction sites. This is what makes construction site security so essential. It can help prevent and prosecute criminal acts, including those by that vandal/trespasser hybrid better known as the graffiti tagger.
Graffiti is an expensive problem in America. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that tackling it costs $15 billion to $18 billion a year and drains the public and private sectors of $30 million annually. This guide will provide site managers with advice on how to prevent graffiti.
The 3 Motivations for Graffiti
Preventing graffiti and vandalism is a constant hassle, and the fact that it’s illegal seems to have little impact on offenders. Having to clean up your construction site after these criminals have been through adds to the cost of your projects and can lead to delayed timelines. There are three main general causes of graffiti:
This marks the territorial limits of local gangs. Seeing this is a huge red flag from a security perspective because it means the broader criminal mindset is behind the spray can. Gangs are likely to turn to theft and worse forms of vandalism, with your site possibly in their crosshairs.
Taggers view themselves more as artists than criminals. This group is responsible for the more prominent examples of graffiti that can span entire walls. This takes longer, and the right security could make them easier to deter or catch.
Political or racially motivated messages are what drives this group. They will use your site to display inflammatory images or words that can incite retaliation from their target, which could come at the expense of your property.
Construction graffiti of any sort is a bad sign. It means criminals consider your site as nothing but a platform for self-promotion. The first instance of graffiti is good cause to create a security plan or review your current strategy.
5 Tips on How to Prevent Graffiti and Vandalism
Taggers have the benefit of numbers, but they rely on only a handful of security weaknesses to take advantage of a site. Follow these best practices on how to prevent graffiti:
1. Limit Access to Your Construction Site
Make sure the fences around your construction site are well made and that the gates are locked every night to prevent would-be taggers from entering. Prevent after-hours access under cover of darkness by removing anything trespassers can use to climb barriers and disable site lighting.
2. Invest in Mobile Video Surveillance
Modern mobile security units can be deployed to follow your crew or stay fixed for long-term builds. They also provide many other benefits, including:
- 360-degree site views from heights of 20 feet
- Remote security agents who monitor feeds to gauge threat levels, interact in real time with intruders, and quickly alert law enforcement
- Infrared and thermal imaging options follow body heat in low light
- Remote access allows site managers to view their security feed through their digital device from anywhere, at any time
- Protection that costs far less than hiring physical guards
All these benefits can work for your site as part of a tailored security plan that suits your needs. Speak to the surveillance professionals to find out more.
3. Think Like a Graffiti Tagger
All taggers have a specific objective in mind: They want to find somewhere that’s easy to mark at night but has high daytime visibility. Set up lighting and surveillance around any walls that fit this description. Motion-sensitive lights are effective and efficient because they’re startling enough to be a deterrent, and they deactivate with lack of movement.
4. Work With Neighborhood Watch
Construction managers working on an ongoing project like a housing development can attend meetings and speak to people who live in the neighborhood about keeping the site clean. Locals will appreciate developers caring enough to attend and may offer their assistance in monitoring your site.
5. Speak to Your Local Authorities
Signs of gang activity mean it’s time to alert local law enforcement. This may seem like an after-the-fact solution and a waste of your time, but it isn’t. At the very least, your heads-up will let officers know gangs are active in the area, which means the law will want to keep an eye out for them.
These tips give construction the upper hand against taggers and anybody else looking to negatively impact your site. There are still a few unanswered questions, however, that can stop sites from looking after their interests because they feel graffiti problems are a losing battle.
Graffiti Prevention FAQ
Developers all too often accept graffiti as par for the course. Many feel that it’s so present in everyday life that taking preventive action isn’t worth the effort, or that a simple repaint will suffice. Consider this FAQ as food for thought:
Isn’t It Good Enough to Just Paint Over It?
This is not only a drain on your time, labor, and budget, it can also be viewed as a direct invitation for more graffiti. One study found that many taggers view repaints not as a deterrent but as part of a psychological battle for ownership.
Does Anything Happen to Taggers When They’re Caught?
Taggers can be apprehended if construction sites take proactive measures to catch them in the act. These “artists” are guilty of malicious destruction under Maryland law and can be punished to the tune of thousands of dollars or years in prison when developers fight back.
Does Anyone Beyond Security Providers and Law Enforcement Offer Assistance?
The Graffiti Resource Council (GRC) provides free advice and resources to vulnerable parties of all kinds and is dedicated to advancing policy toward graffiti prevention.
Developers must remember that they’re not alone in the fight against taggers. Teaming up with experienced security professionals is a huge help in preventing graffiti and vandalism.
Contact the Mobile Security Experts for Graffiti Prevention Help
Many property owners feel frustrated and helpless when faced with the challenge of how to prevent graffiti, but there are measures you can take. The Mobile Video Guard team specializes in providing live video surveillance that keeps construction sites monitored 24/7.
Taggers will think twice when faced with strobe lights, loudspeaker warnings, and recorded footage that can provide compelling evidence. Contact Mobile Video Guard and speak to an expert today.