State and Local Problems Research Paper

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Local Problems: Graffiti and Vandalism Issues

In the latest edition of oxford dictionary the word graffiti is defined as the unauthorized writing or drawing on a surface in a public place." This also includes the terrible writing, paintings, cartoon and scribbles one sees on house and public fences, underneath bridges, on the empty sides of a building, unfortunate houses and the most common place for graffiti or "tagging" are the subways. The first impression when one looks at graffiti writing are messy words expected to be written by a five-year-old, but on a closer look when the writing becomes clear is when the actual meaning is understood, which in most of the cases is obscene and vulgar. The pretty colors and intricate designs might look appealing and beautiful but the fact that it is a conscious effort to destroy private or state property is an ugly truth. The main problem with graffiti is that it is "unauthorized" as the meaning implies and provides no assistance than to destroy property and make walls look dirty (Otto. 2000).

Hence it has now been condemned as a crime just like mugging or any other street crime because it deprives or "steals" from the owner of the property the chance and opportunity to keep their property clean and presentable. Also the repairs and painting walls to cover up walls full graffiti a very costly and time consuming process, since the people who scribbled in the first place never offer the satisfaction to pay for the damage they have done which sometimes amount to thousands of dollars. In 2010 alone U.S. had to pay 250, 00,000 dollars to repair graffiti walls. And that is the problem with graffiti -- it is "unauthorized," as the dictionary says, and it destroys someone's property. It is a crime, like stealing, because it steals the property owner's right to have their own property look clean and nice. And it makes repairs costly for the property owner; graffiti scribblers never offer to pay the cost of repairing their destruction, which may cost thousands of dollars (Nugent. 1998).

In this paper we will attempt to draft a policy proposal to help eradicate this social problem. The policy will include various methods to put a stop to graffiti and ways to discourage the people who are involved in it. Following the proposal we will analyze it finding out the positive aspects of it and how it can contribute in ongoing efforts in this respect and attempt to point out the possible flaws which might contribute in the failure of this policy.

Policy Proposal

In this proposal we will discuss the various effective methods to put a stop at vandalism -- anywhere one can see various gang proclamation on the walls using spray paints, weird and vulgar paintings and other examples proving the defacing of public property. Where once upon a time this problem was condensed and only noticeable in certain areas, a huge explosion has been noticed in the past years and now graffiti and vandalism is acted in big countries and towns. Contrary to popular belief graffiti is not just limited to gang activity and nor is the case that only gang members are responsible for such acts, it has now become a jurisdictional offence found in all sizes and is no longer limited to gang activity.

The proposal below discusses various methods to combat this issue, the format is given below.

Identifying The problem on the Government level

Identifying is all about scanning the problem regarding graffiti, its origin and what motivates or encourages people to participate in such acts. This is possible by utilizing available and authentic data, educating one's self and the community in this respect and chalking out a clear map of what is to be done and how the concerned authorities will go on about doing it (Mueller. 2000). This process revolves around making the stark oberservation about various recurring incidents regarding vandalism to see if there are any connections or possible similarity to them, also by analyzing similar to related incidents and the main goal should be to identify the main places where there are constant reported graffiti incidents so that locations and targets can be mapped out.

These incidents can be scanned by police authorities and local community members. The most important thing to be kept in mind while designing this step is that in the "identifying" process those activities are more stressed upon which have reported more than a few times, this is important it provides a more effective method in dealing with the problem and the resources can be used wisely accordingly.

Involvement of various organizations in Analyzing the issue:

The analyzing process involves the available resources and information, utilizing the necessary technology and also the local area resources to understand and go further into the issues of vandalism and graffiti and indentifying its hidden causes (Gomez. 1993). This step scans the reasons, excuses and conditions which are main playing force in the particular problem by looking deep into its properties and characteristics and its overall impact on the society the analysis will consist of the following factors

Locating and identifying the people involved in the crimes and locating who and what their targets or victims are

Locating the recurrence of the vandalism and identifying if there is any set pattern

Is there any particular location where the offenses take place? And does the surrounding physical environment have any relation to it (Ferrell. 1995).

If there is a recurrence then what is the history behind it?

The main thing is to identify the encouragement and motivation behind these activities and what are the gaining and losing factors for the people involved in acts of vandalism

The underlying factors will have to be identified

Also the scanning of any rivalry involved is important, because most of the times graffiti incidents are the result of gang wars trying to themselves better than the rest

The most important factor is to research whether there have been any past action against crimes of vandalism and graffiti and what was the response generated from it.

Including the general public for a wider Response

Generating a response against vandalism and graffiti is extremely important so that the people know that the government is doing something about the issue also it can provide the government with a ratio of the effected people. This can be including the community and its key players in the process and asking what they want to be done and whether they have any plausible solution to it (Eastel. 1991). Any response should be taken into consideration, this can range from planting shrubs against building walls so that they become safe, to publically discouraging the activity and making a point to show that it is looked down upon this can be done by including various active communities, towns and NGO's in the governmental initiative on projects that work on diverting the attention of the youth and people involved in cases of vandalism and graffiti into other productive activities.

Positive Consequences of the Proposal

The above policy marks a systematic and thorough process regarding the purpose of fighting against tagging, graffiti and vandalism in the United States. It provides and a basic structure and helping points on what can be done one various different levels in a country; from the national level to small communities and towns. It also provides the basic ideas for the implementation of various laws and how the common man can be made a part of it. By the involvement of community members in the process ensures their participation and important reviews can be generated from them which can prove to be extremely helpful in combating vandalism (Cheetham. 1994).

This way more strategies can be provided in order to tackle with the situation latest finding can be updated all the time. The government should create a forum where issues related to only vandalism and graffiti are discussed, so that everyone can be kept in the loop; from the government to the involved forces, the various organizations working for this cause to the community members.

Possible Drawbacks

Graffiti has been transformed into a culture, considering that most of the vandalism criminals are juveniles the laws are hard to impose and considering that it has become such an old issue or culture that complete eradication is not possible (Castleman. 1982). Due to this issue many suggestions have been made that separate areas should be allotted for "graffiti artists" to paint all they want. Graffiti is quintessentially illegal, but considering that our society is made of various layers of multi-cultures and semi-autonomous social fields who whole heartedly believe in free will feel that they have the power to make their own rules. Keeping this mind the act of making graffiti illegal and the various steps taken on national community level, will not completely put a rest to the issue and the people functioning behind it will still continue to do their business as…[continue]

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