A Partnership with the Community
Although some graffiti is gang related, most of Beaverton's graffiti is the result of individual acts of vandalism perpetrated by people seeking attention. The Beaverton Police aggressively track and pursue graffiti vandalism. This is why all graffiti must be reported before it is removed. Officers take photographs of graffiti and maintain the information in a database to track occurrences and aid in the investigation and apprehension of suspects.
Guidelines that will make it easier to respond to your report
- Get the exact address - If there is no building address, get the two neighboring addresses.
- Location of graffiti - north facing wall, southeast corner, etc.
- Type of property affected - street sign, bus shelter, fence, retaining wall, etc.
- Surface - Painted or unpainted wood, brick, concrete, glass, etc.
- Message - what does it say?
- Material used - spray paint, marker, etching, etc.
Reporting graffiti to the Beaverton Police Department is an important first step and may help prevent another crime. To report graffiti call (503) 629-0111 or use Report a Problem form.
No longer limited to the inner cities, graffiti has become universal. Beyond its unsightliness, graffiti damage is very expensive, and now costs the American public over $4 billion a year. Despite what some may claim, graffiti is not art. When done without permission it is vandalism and destruction of property. Graffiti sends a negative message to the public. It presents a picture of apathy and decay. It can result in reduction of property values and may discourage new businesses and families from moving into, and investing in, a neighborhood. A united removal effort makes a clear statement that offenders, and their destructive graffiti and other activities, will not be tolerated.
Gang graffiti is the written language of gangs. It can be used to communicate, challenge, make statements or even serve as a role call. Gang graffiti is usually territorial. About 10% of graffiti in Beaverton is gang related.
Tagger graffiti is the majority of what we experience here. A tagger adopts a nickname (or "tag") and then writes it on public and private property. Tagger writing usually resembles handwriting and is sometimes so stylized that it is difficult to read. Letters are commonly intertwined and cartoon-type drawings often accompany a tag. Tagger graffiti is not territorial since the taggers are determined to place as many tags as possible throughout an area to seek recognition among their peers.
Graffiti vandals sometimes tag as part of a group, or a "crew." Most crew graffiti shows the tag name and the tag crew. A tag crew can be identified by the initials scrawled somewhere in the tag. There are usually three initials, but sometimes four or two.
Thrill seeking is another motivating factor for some graffiti vandals. Taggers often damage property quite simply for the thrill of overcoming the fear of getting caught and in some cases, the fear of high places. Although this sounds odd to most adults, it can be a very strong motivator for taggers - most of whom are under 18 years old.
What Can You Do to Help?
Many taggers proudly sport samples of their "art" on books or notebooks. Some even carry tagging scrapbooks, complete with samples of their writing. They may also carry copies of magazines which support the tagging trade. Check their fingers for paint. Do they wear baggy pants and loose shirts? This type of clothing can easily hide cans of spray paint.
Take notice of graffiti on notebooks, desks, homework and in lockers, as well as students with paint on their fingers. Report this immediately to school security people.
Graffiti hurts everyone and can destroy a neighborhood. The community has a responsibility to maintain their neighborhoods, and keep them graffiti-free. When an area is hit again and again by graffiti, citizens feel the area is not safe and it serves as a welcome mat to more serious crime. In order to defeat the vandals, and keep our neighborhoods safe, we all have to continually be on top of the problem! Paint over graffiti on your property as soon as it appears! Not only is it easier to clean fresh graffiti, but it discourages future tags. Taggers seek visibility. Prompt removal denies them visibility, which will cause fewer future attacks.
Participate in the Beaverton Police Department's Responsible Retailer Program and keep spray paint out of the hands of minors.
Educate Yourself and Your Community
- Share this information.
- Teach young people to respect their environment rather than vandalize it.
- Ask business owners to remove graffiti from their property.
- Become involved in your Business or Neighborhood Association and help to make graffiti removal a priority.