Many people would argue that graffiti is art, but when it is defacing property within the community of your homeowners association, it's considered vandalism. A homeowners association monitors and immediately removes graffiti from common areas and encourages residents to do the same with their property. If you've had several incidents of graffiti in your neighborhood recently, or just want to be prepared if you ever do, the homeowners association recommends these steps for dealing with graffiti.
- If you happen to see someone defacing property in the homeowners association, don't try to stop it yourself. Call the police immediately and report the graffiti vandalism in progress. Make a mental note of as many details as possible about the perpetrators -- how many people are involved, what age they are, whether they're male or female, any distinctive clothing. This information will significantly help the police.
- Talk with your neighbors about keeping their eyes open for people who look out of place or any suspicious activity in the neighborhood. Encourage your neighbors in the homeowners association to be aware and report graffiti vandals instead of ignoring the issue and thinking it will just go away.
- Document the graffiti vandalism as soon as you see it by photographing it before removing it and recording when and where it appeared. Be sure to make a note of when it was removed, the cost to clean it up, and other relevant information. Keep your documentation to share with the police and the insurance agent used by your homeowners association.
- Once it is documented, remove the graffiti immediately. "Taggers" or people responsible for the graffiti, gain more notoriety among their peers the longer the graffiti remains. Removing it quickly sends a message that you care about the community within your homeowners association and won't let them get away with it.
- Ask your homeowners association to install good lighting in areas vulnerable to graffiti.
- Cover up any blank "canvases” in graffiti-prone areas by suggesting that your homeowners association plant shrubs or climbing vines, or replace walls with hedges.
- Make cleaning future graffiti much easier in problem areas where graffiti appears regularly by applying a layer of clear paint or silicone coating over painted surfaces.
We want to keep our community curb appeal, and by working together, we can reduce and maybe even prevent the problem of graffiti in our homeowners association.