How to be a Graffiti Artist

Not all graffiti is gang-related. It’s often left by individuals seeking a thrill and notoriety. Either way, it’s a serious crime, and prompt reporting is critical. When you see graffiti, contact our Customer Service department by dialing 3-1-1. You can also report graffiti online using Provo’s Self Service Portal found on provo.org.

So what happens to the graffiti after that? Here’s a summary from our police department’s Community Oriented Policing (“COP”) team:

Graffiti reports come into our department in numerous ways: dispatch, the city website’s graffiti reporting tool, through the COP office number, our parks and recreation staff, officers on patrol, etc. An officer will respond and take a photograph of the graffiti (which we log in our files) and a crime report is written. We then also log the ‘tag’ names or image descriptives into a database that COP maintains so that when the same tag appears in the same style in multiple locations, we group them together so that if we apprehend or track down a suspect, we can refer those numerous multiple charges against the suspect for prosecution.

We send the cleanup requests to TAG (Teens Against Graffiti/HOPES work crew who work with the juvenile justice system) and they take their team out to remove the graffiti, only billing the city minimally for supplies used, not labor. There are usually young offenders on the crew working off criminal charges, as well as volunteers who make arrangements to assist. TAG completes the cleanup within 48 hours, except for on long weekends. Our firefighters also help to clean up hard to reach places such as over-passes, bridges, tall buildings, or dangerous locations. They assist in cleaning up within parks or along the river trail where possible. If graffiti has been reported yet still remains on view, don’t hesitate to call COP so that we can double-check if a crime report was taken, and ensure the cleanup takes place promptly.

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