Graffiti is bad for business. In Australia, graffiti vandalism is a crime; affecting business cash flow, property values and community safety. Office buildings that are victims to graffiti often look vandalised and unprofessional. Fortunately, there are ways to manage its effects on your business.
But there’s no single solution to prevent graffiti. Effective management involves a multi-faceted approach and is a shared responsibility between you, your local council, police and the community.
Graffiti vandalism costs Australia $2.7 billion each year. Without a strategy in place, your business can fall victim to the expense and impact of wiping visual litter away.
Here’s how you can prevent graffiti on your business’s property:
Be Smart about Building Design
Graffiti-proof your business through smart design strategies.
Limit access to target areas by removing any items that could assist offenders away from the building. These can include rubbish bins, ladders and outdoor furniture. Unless these are secured or stored, they may be used to reach high surfaces to ‘tag’.
If there’s an opportunity to renovate, reduce the risk of your business being targeted through surface design. Rough, uneven surfaces, like stone or brickwork can deter graffiti. Dark or colourful surfaces that make vandalism hard to see should also be used over light coloured walls.
Invest in Surface Protection Film
Many small businesses couldn’t afford to replace windows if they’re vandalised.
Graffiti vandals cost Australian business owners millions of dollars annually in replacement costs for scratched and engraved glass, or paint removal on windows and other surfaces.
To prevent damage and deter future vandalism, use protective film. The clear coating acts as an additional, stronger barrier. If the film is scratched it’s more cost-effective to replace than vandalised glass. Graffiti can also be cleaned off protective film easier than the original surface.
Use Lighting and Surveillance
Vandals are less likely to graffiti an area that’s well-lit or under surveillance.
Reduce dark spots with spotlights and motion lighting. If you’re using lighting to maximise surveillance, have a visibility range of at least 15 metres. Lights should be out-of-reach, with power supplies and controls inside.
Graffiti-prone areas and businesses can benefit from CCTV or security patrols as well. Signage and/or security cameras are effective for deterring graffiti attempts.
Tip: If community safety needs to be increased, approach the local council about installing better street lighting in your area.
Restrict Access with Plants
Landscaping can be used to create naturally graffiti resistant surfaces.
Strategic placement of dense shrubs, trees, hedges or vines maximises surveillance and offers protection against blank walls. These ‘greenscreens’ are being used to reduce opportunities for graffiti by businesses and residents across Australia.
Some plants to get you started include:
- Black Coral Pea
- Snake Vine
- Olive Grevillea
- Holly Leaved Hovea
- Golden Grevillea
- Vines, creepers and plants with thorns or spikes
Use plants that fit with your business’s environment. Fast-growing shrubs shouldn’t be more than 70cm high when landscaping for surveillance to avoid becoming natural ladders onto upper offices or rooftops. Plants can also be used to prevent access by creating a boundary between public and private spaces where there are no fences. By making it clear who owns the property, intruders are more easily spotted.
Act Fast: Report Vandalism in the Area
Buildings with graffiti attract more vandalism.
If you notice any on your property or in the area, make sure it’s reported immediately and removed. Left graffiti can also cost business owners more. The longer it remains, the more difficult it is to remove.
Network with business neighbours to develop a community watch. Check your area for a Neighbourhood Watch program as well. The more community involvement, the less likelihood of graffiti happening. Many states also offer government initiatives, with funding for businesses who implement graffiti prevention strategies.
Many businesses are targets for graffiti and removal can be costly. What will you be doing to protect your property?