Despite the various ways to prevent graffiti and vandalism, very few options are reliably effective in deterring unsightly tags and property damage. Band-aid fixes like proper lighting and plant coverage may be marginally successful in warding-off vandals. But in most cases, retailers and business owners can benefit from having greater reinforcement installed to effectively prevent graffiti and vandalism.
We’re not saying solutions like a row of flowers or a well-lit and well-monitored property doesn’t help prevent vandalism and graffiti. Rather, it’s often a combination of measures that provide ultimate prevention against these threats. Here are five strategies that can be effective solutions for retailers, businesses, and any property owners subject to graffiti and vandalism.
5 Strategies for Graffiti and Vandalism Prevention
According to a report by the EPA, the annual cost of monitoring, detecting, removing, and repairing graffiti damage has been estimated as high as $15 to $18 billion in the United States. Establishments subject to this damage can help reverse these numbers by employing the following graffiti and vandalism prevention strategies.
1. Anti-Graffiti Film
One of the most cost-effective ways to prevent graffiti and vandalism damage is anti-graffiti film. It’s widely used as a powerful way to discourage vandals and to mitigate tagging on windows and other surfaces. Nearly invisible after being installed, anti-graffiti film is not only a deterrent against vandalism, but it also reduces and even eliminates the need for costly glass replacement. Based on statistics from products like 3M™ Anti-Graffiti Films, a single window replacement can easily be 10-20 times more expensive than the cost of anti-graffiti film installation.
2. Impact Protection Attachment Systems
Often combined with anti-graffiti or surface protection films for optimal vandalism prevention, impact protection attachment systems offer the highest level of protection for glass walls and windows. These systems attach to the glass surface and window frame, creating a strong shield that prevents not only vandals and forced entry, but also earthquakes, bomb blasts, and other catastrophic events.
3. Anti-Graffiti Paints and Coatings
Anti-graffiti paints and coatings are protective barriers that can prevent materials used for tagging from bonding to a building’s surface. Essentially these products work like special spray paints that create protective surfaces that graffiti tagging can’t penetrate. Anti-graffiti paints come in three different coatings:
- Permanent coating: creates a protective barrier that doesn’t allow spray paint to bond to the surface. If the surface is vandalized, only graffiti cleaner is needed for removal. Permanent coatings are often more expensive, but if properly cleaned and maintained, only one coat is needed.
- Sacrificial coating: forms a clear layer over the targeted surface. If vandalized, the coating is removed or “sacrificed” with a pressure washer, along with graffiti. Once removed, another coating needs to be reapplied.
- Semi-sacrificial coating: used to protect the surface pores of a wall. If vandalized, this coating can be easily removed with a combination of graffiti removal cleaner and a pressure washer. After the graffiti has been removed, an additional coating can be optional depending on its condition.
Creating a barrier can comprise of many different possibilities, some more tasteful than others depending on the property. Barriers can range from dense plant life like hedges, ivy, and shrubs or more conventional solutions like gates and fences. Designed to prevent vandals from easily accessing walls, the additional effort it takes to climb over or around these barriers can deter the effort of vandals or turn their attention elsewhere. When combined with anti-graffiti films and surface protection coatings, vandalism and graffiti can be even more preventable.
5. Multi-Layer Surface Protection Film
As the name implies, multi-layer surface protection film is versatile option that can be used for a wide variety of applications. For some exposed buildings, it offers an easy way to prevent graffiti and vandalism. Easily applied in a matter of minutes, multi-layer surface protection film can be used in both vertical and horizontal applications, making it an ideal choice for virtually any type of smooth surfaces, like exterior mirrors and glass, concrete and ceramic tile walls and floors, vinyl surfaces, and other non-porous compositions like granite, marble, quarry, and porcelain.
Aside from these effective strategies for graffiti and vandalism prevention, other common measures involve security cameras and personnel, flood lights and other lighting designs, signage, preventative murals, and other obstructions that might deter vandals. For more information about some of the film products, contact Window Film Depot for more information.