Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Federal Wayan: Graffiti Good

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The Federal Wayan has picked up the story. In my opinion, they're right on one count... trying to clean up the graffiti tackles the problem without looking at its root cause. But on another count, I think they're quite wrong... they suggest it's artistic and adds character. Perhaps the Federal Wayan hasn't been repeatedly hit by graffiti. Perhaps they haven't been part of a business who has to repeatedly spend money to paint over defacement that affects their ability to do business or would cast them in a bad light if they were to let it remain. Their remedy also is also not complete; look around for instances where scrubbing has only left blurry or partially removed tags. I also don't find much of what's being posted around town to be artistic. Especially not the latest "f the police" (I don't need to spell out the f, you can figure out what I'm not saying) tags that are starting to appear. They're not making deliveries from their little mom and pop carry-out in a van that has scribbles all over the hood. And they're certainly not delivering our mail in trucks with the remnants of graffiti all over town.

I subscribe to the "Broken Windows" theory, despite some of its flaws. That is, that small crimes (broken windows, graffiti) tell criminals and potential criminals that crime is tolerated.

Graffiti? Sure, go right ahead. It adds spice!

Red Light Running? It's not that big a deal.

Auto Theft? Eh. Not a big deal. People have insurance.

Kidnapping? Hey, we'll let you take cars in this city, we won't miss a person or two.

Murder? Well, you just can't let them walk away, right?

Yeah, extreme, but hopefully it makes my point. Just like those who say kids who torture pets are just "troubled" even though study after study suggests kids who torture pets become adults who torture and kill other humans -- especially children (who, like pets, are smaller, more easily controlled and less likely to fight back), I suggest that graffiti opens the door for larger crimes.

And one more thought... graffiti gives off a bad impression. It says subconsciously to people "This is not a nice place. This is not a safe place. Lock your doors, keep your head down and move on quickly, gangs may be about. Probably drug dealers who want to kill us." Not the image we want to give tourists, shoppers and future homeowners (that is, the taxpayers, taxpayers and major taxpayers) we're trying to bring into town.

I welcome your thoughts below (click on "comments") and the Federal Wayan welcomes your comments on their site.


federalwayblog said...

There's plenty of stuff for kids to do. I really believe it is mostly delinquents that are bent on being destructive, not good kids that have just lost the "excitement" of the Commons or are bored with the climbing wall at the brand new community center.

This is a lame excuse for illegal behavior that is detrimental to our community. If there isn't enough to do, I suggest that kids and parents lobby the city council for more services - or - pick up a paint roller and spend their days covering graffiti. That should keep them busy through the summer.

James said...

Federal Way Blog took it a step further with a more indepth response on their own website, which was far more eloquent than mine. A definite must read.


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