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Graffiti is a crime Research Paper


Graffiti is a term, which was derived from ‘graphein’. Graphein is actually a Greek word, which can be literally translated to English as ‘to write’. The term graffiti is used while referring to writing along with drawings sprayed, scribbled, or even scratched illegally within the public places’ walls or any other surface (MacKenzie and Zhang 129).

Generally, graffiti is diverse in nature as it encompasses straightforward written words to convoluted wall paintings. Surprisingly, graffiti has always been existent since primeval times. In fact, some graffiti examples date back to the era of the Ancient Greece, as well as Roman Empire (Ganz 102). As at present, the widely utilized graffiti materials are specifically the marker pens in addition to spray paint. In some other occasions, other materials such as knives, rocks along with etching acid are also used.

Types and categories of Graffiti

It is essential to note that there are various types of graffiti. The commonly known graffiti types include the tags, etching, throw-ups, pieces, bombing, stencils, dripping, burning along with legal walls (Blickenstorfer 30). On the other hand, Graffiti has been classified into six diverse categories. These include the hip Hop/ subway, commercial, racial &hate, gang, political and social along with opportunistic. The hip-hop style was popularized by the 1980’s hip-hop culture (Ley and Cybriwsky 496).

Commercial graffiti refers to the situations whereby firms or organizations hire vandals to paint their logos within walkways or any other places with the aim of marketing themselves. Racial & hate is considered as the worst graffiti form because it aims at hurting an individual in terms of their beliefs or racial background (MacKenzie and Zhang 130).

Commercial graffiti is turning out as a major problem globally. Gang graffiti refers to the act of various gangs of marking their territories and showing of f their disrespect to the governing authorities and the society in general using graffiti. Political and social graffiti is politically motivated and aims at degrading other individual’s political views. Opportunistic graffiti is featured within areas whereby the vandals cannot be found out while publishing the graffiti such as within poorly lit areas.

Graffiti as a crime

Graffiti is considered as a crime in most of the nations globally especially once it has been done in the absence of the property owner’s permission. Graffiti has been illegalized within various nations because it entails the defacing of both public, as well as, private properties and thus it is a form of vandalism.

Moreover, it has been established that graffiti is unsafe to the individuals carrying it out because in some cases it involves the use of toxic chemicals. Besides, individuals undertaking graffiti end up putting themselves in dangerous positions, which can bring out great harm or even death (Blickenstorfer 31).

In the present society, most individuals view graffiti as one of the forms of urban decay. They advocate for its illegalization because it is becoming every individual’s eyesore. In addition to this some of the categories of graffiti such as the gang, political/social, racial & hate, bring about tension and thus result to peace instability within the affected regions because they generate fear within the neighborhood.

In the real sense, unauthorized graffiti is a crime because it contributes to the depreciation of property values. In addition to this, it is both destructive, as well as, costly. It is costly in the sense that the respective authorities or property owners have to invest both their time and finances in removing the graffiti, which has been posted within their properties.

Other types of graffiti such as the commercial graffiti are categorized as crimes because making use of graffiti as a form of advertisement is usually against the advertisement along with media laws established in most countries (Ley and Cybriwsky 503).

Taking a look at the racial and hate graffiti, there is a high possibility of violence erupting within the areas where such graffiti has been published. On top of this, political graffiti contributes a lot in inciting the affected parties to indulge in violent activities. Due to the aforementioned reasons, graffiti is largely being considered as a crime internationally and a good number of governing authorities are formulating laws, which illegalize it.

Disadvantages of graffiti

The great disadvantage of graffiti is that in most of the occasions it is used for offensive purposes and thus it has ended be classified as a form of vandalism instead of been viewed as an art. To make the matters worse, a considerable number of individuals despise graffiti and hold the notion that it is completely meaningless. Moreover, in most of the societies, graffiti is simply viewed part of the teenagers’ unbecoming behaviors.

Given that most of the graffiti entails the defacing of both public, as well as, private properties, graffiti artists have ended up being branded as part of the destructive atrocities (Owen 3). However, it should be noted that the graffiti artists who carry it out as a form of vandalism bring about most of the graffiti disadvantages.

These include the political and social graffiti artists, the gang graffiti artists, as well as the race and hate graffiti artists. In addition, some of the spray paints used while carrying out the graffiti works consist of toxic chemicals which are not only hazardous to the graffiti artist but also the neighboring society as a whole.

Young people and graffiti

At the present society, majority of the young individuals really adore graffiti. Majority of the young people view graffiti as one of the decorative arts. Moreover, putting into consideration that a good number of the young people are great followers of the hip-hop culture, they really value the power of graffiti (MacKenzie and Zhang 132).

In fact, majority of the young hip-hop musicians produce their music videos, which feature places, which have been greatly decorated with graffiti. Besides, most young individuals will consider graffiti as one of the method, which can be used to make the environment within them more colorful. Putting into consideration that most of the graffiti artists target the youth, majority of the graffiti works end up highly appealing to them.

As a result, a greater percentage of the young individuals view graffiti as one of the ways through which they can effectively display their creativity. In addition to this, majority of the young individuals like to obtain cheap publicity (Herko 24).

It is in that regard that they will make use of graffiti to publicize their ideologies by posting their graffiti within public structures such as bridges along with subways. In a certain extend, a fraction of the young people get involved in unauthorized graffiti activities due to their love of getting involved with illegal activities anonymously.


Graffiti has become one of the heinous problems in numerous jurisdictions all over the globe. Therefore, there is a great need to formulate strategies, which can be employed in the control along with regulation of graffiti. In the first place, laws should be implemented which make the unauthorized publication of graffiti a crime which is punishable by either imposing a jail imprisonment on the culprit or heavy fines or even both.

For such laws to turn out as effective, police officers should make it certain that they catch the culprits while committing the act. The other approach, which can be utilized to control graffiti, is by having them removed as soon as they are published. This is based on the theory that immediate removal of graffiti will deny the graffiti artists the opportunity to think highly of their works. In addition, it will significantly reduce their motivation to get involved in the graffiti work (Blickenstorfer 30).

However, for this second approach to turn out as effective, there should be put in place a dynamic monitoring program that will be ensure that the unauthorized graffiti quickly spotted and removed within the shortest time possible. Moreover, property owners should be cautioned against having authorized graffiti within their properties.

However, as the modern art tends to view graffiti as a way of displaying individuals’ creativity, there is the need to authorize graffiti within certain areas (MacKenzie and Zhang 137). For instance, within certain areas, graffiti walls can be constructed within which individuals can legally display their graffiti given that they do not feature offensive sediments.


The negative impacts associated with graffiti call for quick counter actions by the respective authorities. Nevertheless, it is necessary to legalize some forms of graffiti, as totally illegalizing it will kill one of the ways of demonstrating artistic creativity. Besides, non-offensive graffiti makes our environment look lovelier. However, it is barbaric to deface public structures with unwanted graffiti such as political graffiti.

Works Cited

Blickenstorfer, Charles. “Graffiti: Wow!” Pen Computing Magazine Jan. 1995: 30-31. Print.

Ganz, Nicolas. Graffiti World. New York: Abrams, 2004. Print.

Herko, Carl. “The Writing on the Wall: Urban Graffiti’s deeper Meaning”. The Buffalo News 24 August 1993. Print.

Ley, David, and Roman Cybriwsky. “Urban Graffiti as Territorial Markers”. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 64.4 (1974): 491-505. Print.

MacKenzie, Ian, and Schenz Zhang. “The immediate usability of Graffiti.” Proceedings of Graphics Interface ’97 (1997): 129-137. Print.

Owen, Morgan. Graffiti – Who Owns the Rights? September 2006. Web.

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IvyPanda. (2020, January 14). Graffiti is a crime. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/graffiti-is-a-crime-research-paper/

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"Graffiti is a crime." IvyPanda, 14 Jan. 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/graffiti-is-a-crime-research-paper/.

1. IvyPanda. "Graffiti is a crime." January 14, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/graffiti-is-a-crime-research-paper/.


IvyPanda. "Graffiti is a crime." January 14, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/graffiti-is-a-crime-research-paper/.


IvyPanda. 2020. "Graffiti is a crime." January 14, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/graffiti-is-a-crime-research-paper/.


IvyPanda. (2020) 'Graffiti is a crime'. 14 January.

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