Let’s get rid of the graffiti!
The City of San Jose is on a mission to wipe out graffiti on homes and businesses. It is asking residents to help out.
Report Graffiti to Have it Removed. (Abatement)
Abatement is administered by the San Jose Department of Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services (PRNS).
Step 1: Report it
Call 311 to report graffiti on your home or in your neighborhood. (Cellular callers must dial (408) 277-8900). Call 911 to report vandalism in progress. If you want to report information about taggers anonymously, please call Crime Stoppers at (408) 947-7867
Even if you plan to clean up the graffiti yourself, make a report first. The best way to report graffiti is to call 311 or 911 if it is a crime in progress.
Step 2: Remove it
If the graffiti is on your property, it’s your responsibility to clean it up. Property owners not cooperating in keeping their property graffiti-free will be referred to the Department of Code Enforcement and may be subjected to penalties and fines.
Free graffiti removal solvent and paint is available at the San Jose Anti-Graffiti Program at 1661 Senter Rd, Bldg G, San Jose, CA 95112. To report graffiti for removal on city property call the Anti-Graffiti Hotline at (866)249-0543.
Graffiti Removal Solvent
- The solvent works well on all surfaces, including stucco, natural brick and cement.
- When using on porous surfaces, such as brick or stucco, apply the solvent and let it soak, then agitate with a vinyl or wire brush and rinse with water. Best results are achieved when using a power washer to rinse solvent.
- Be careful when using the solvent on a painted surface, since it can remove the original paint. Best results on painted surfaces are achieved when removing small amounts of graffiti or graffiti from a marker.
Painting Over Graffiti
When graffiti is on a painted surface, the best course of action is to cover it with paint.
- Before painting over the graffiti, make sure it is reported and that City crews photographed it.
- First, put a primer coat over the graffiti. Follow up with a coat of exterior paint.
- The City of San Jose has the right to abate graffiti without notice to the property owner.
There are many things residents and business owners in San Jose can do to prevent graffiti (Click the bar below to expand the section for prevention tips):
- Report suspicious behavior
If you see someone about to write graffiti or commit any other crime, call 911 immediately. You may report anonymous tips about graffiti vandals by calling 311. Cellular callers must dial (408) 277-8900, 311 services are not currently available from calls originating on a cellular telephone..
- Question teens who try to get spray paint
California Penal Code PEN Section 594.1. (a)(1) prohibits sale of spray paint cans to anyone under 18. If teenagers ask for spray paint, find out how the paint is going to be used before providing them with it.
- Teach responsibility and respect
Your children need to know that graffiti on private and public property is illegal and disrespectful.
- Teach community pride
Parents, teachers, and community leaders should help discourage graffiti. The greater the stake a teen has in his or her community, the less likely he or she will vandalize it.
- Protect your own property.
Although there is no foolproof way to deter graffiti, there are some measures you can take to make your home or business less attractive to graffiti vandals. Below are some ideas.
- Landscaping - Vandals like to paint graffiti on large flat surfaces, like sides of buildings or garages. Consider planting ivy or other clinging vegetation along these structures. The plants make your property look greener while reducing the likelihood that there will be graffiti problems.
- Murals - Graffiti vandals also like having clean canvases for their work. That’s why painting murals on garage doors or walls can deter graffiti. However, be careful what artwork you put up. Some designs and styles could give vandals the impression that their graffiti is tolerated in your neighborhood.
- Fences - Fences can also have a nice, flat, graffiti-friendly surface. Avoid this by getting one with board gaps or lattices. That way, you can enclose your yard without inviting graffiti.
- Other Solutions
- Install fences and plant thorny or thick bushes in front of large walls. Make it harder for vandals to get access to roofs of businesses by covering downspouts and moving commercial trash bins away from walls. When painting your property, consider darker colors that are less attractive to graffiti vandals. Increase lighting or use motion-activated lights around your property. Consider applying a protective coating which provides a barrier between your property’s surface and the graffiti. Several different brands and prices are available. Check the Yellow Pages under “Graffiti Removal & Protection.”
- Make it harder for vandals to get access to roofs of businesses by covering downspouts and moving commercial trash bins away from walls.
- When painting your property, consider darker colors that are less attractive to graffiti vandals.
- Increase lighting or use motion-activated lights around your property.
- Consider applying a protective coating which provides a barrier between your property’s surface and the graffiti. Several different brands and prices are available. Check the Yellow Pages under “Graffiti Removal & Protection.”
There are many advantages when block clubs, neighborhood organizations and other groups band together to protect their environment:
- Form a neighborhood graffiti removal crew and help those who are not able to do so themselves
- Get neighborhood businesses to sponsor clean-up and prevention efforts
- Create a watch force for areas frequently vandalized
- Involve community youth in removing graffiti
- Help identify and apprehend graffiti writers involved in graffiti
- Participate in the city’s public property adoption (adopt-a-litter container, adopt-a-block, and adopt-a-street) programs
Help keep your community stay clean, join The City of San Jose Anti-Graffiti & Litter Volunteer Program.
The City of San Jose has a program to assist residents and businesses that need to remove graffiti from their property. Graffiti not only creates blight but also may attract crime to an area if not removed in a timely manner. To receive free paint or further information, please contact the City of San Jose Anti-Graffiti Program at the address and phone number listed below.
You need to make an apppointment to pick up your free Anti-Graffiti Tool Kit or to Volunteer to clean up graffiti. Call (408) 975-7233 or contact: