Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The "just a little dirty" theory of graffitti-avoidance

One of the more boring and annoying games that I have to play while living in a big white box truck, is "cat and mouse" with teenage chowderheads armed with illegally-obtained spray-paint cans.

It sucks.

But I've noticed something. When my van was clean, white, and new, it got tagged all the time. I got bored of scrubbing it completely each time, so I'd clean it enough that you could still tell there was grafitti there at one time, but it was mangled beyond recognition-- you couldn't actually read what it said. It was more like dirt and grime than actual grafitti.

And then, I stopped getting tagged so much. Now, this may be coincidence, because I also might have gotten better at finding spots to park where there weren't ass-clowns wandering around with spraypaint cans. But now I'm beginning to wonder.

I've been parking in the same places as I've done, places where I never got grafitti'ed. But I did get a spare can of Acetone recently and cleaned off the remaining "smudges" on the van, and cleaned it up much closer to white. Still dirty, but not looking like it had been recently cleaned of grafitti.

Once I did that, I started getting tagged again. In places where I never got tagged before! This could be coincidence: maybe crime is increasing, maybe the places I'm used to parking in aren't safe anymore, maybe the recent theft of a good deal of spraypaint from a hardware store somewhere has caused a sudden rise in grafitti.

So I cleaned up the most recent grafitti, hastily, and not completely. It looks dirty again, but you can't read what it said. And I'm parking in the same places again. And... I'm not getting tagged anymore. I basically am not cleaning their grafitti, I am ruining it, but leaving its remains there so people can see that someone tried and failed. Maybe that's a better deterrent?

Maybe a van that looks like the grafitti is not going to stay on it, is not an inviting target for teenage morons with spraypaint cans?

Whichever way it goes, for now I'm grafitti-free.

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