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U.S. Department of Justice

 For Immediate Release—October 4, 2002


WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) released a new publication to help law enforcement agencies respond to graffiti and its impact on communities. Graffiti is a practical guide that addresses the factors that contribute to and result from graffiti, offers methods for analyzing the problem, and examines successful strategies that have been implemented in various jurisdictions.

According to the publication, graffiti has significant fiscal impacts on communities. An estimated $12 billion a year is spent cleaning up graffiti in the United States. Graffiti contributes to lost revenue associated with reduced ridership on transit systems, reduced retail sales, and declining property values. Moreover, graffiti can create a perception of blight and public disorder.

The publication also reports that graffiti is not an isolated problem. Rather it is often directly related to gang activity, shoplifting of the materials needed for graffiti, truancy, and hate crimes.

"Graffiti and the problems associated with it can pose many challenges for law enforcement agencies and communities," said COPS Director Carl R. Peed. "Our guide will help agencies better understand and address graffiti, the factors that contribute to it, and its negative consequences."

Graffiti is the most recent volume in a series of Problem Oriented Policing guides developed by the COPS Office. It can be downloaded from the COPS website at, or it may be obtained by contacting the U.S. Department of Justice Response Center at 800.421.6770.

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