Have you ever thrown your food wrappers on places filled with garbage when no trash cans are around? At least once in our lives, this happened. At the time, this seemed like a logical move, since there’s already garbage there anyway.
This line of thought is applicable with almost any type of scenario involving dirt or vandalism. This is more often called, “The Broken Window Theory”. This is a scenario in which a house with broken windows is more likely to have more broken windows because it would be deemed to have nothing to lose as it is. The main concept is that when something is tainted by an unresolved impurity, more of the same impurities are likely to occur.
The same line of thinking can be followed when it comes to graffiti. Graffiti is a form of vandalism perpetrated by mostly gang members at night. They use this to convey messages or express themselves in any way they deem appropriate.
The nature of this act is much more connected to the broken window theory because it is deliberate. Once a graffiti is painted on a wall without being fixed immediately, other vandals would most likely treat that area as a place for their vandalism. Once it spreads, a quick paint job on the surface may not be enough, since this is already considered their area. vandalism may be considered a habit that tends to gather attention. If a group of people starts to perceive that an area has been neglected, they will start forming the habit of placing their vandalisms there. Just like broken windows, vandalized walls tend to be more likely targets for more vandalism. Once it is perceived as a neglected property, vandals would be more likely to paint on this area, based on the line of thinking under the broken window theory.
The problem here is that home or building owners may be reluctant when painting over graffiti immediately because of the expenses to be incurred with this. The underlying thinking here is that doing immediate paint jobs may cost more because the vandals would only come back. However, given the circumstances surrounding vandalisms everywhere, it may be better to look beyond the flow of money and analyze the behavior of the source of the problem instead. If the acts of vandalism are removed immediately, it would help with graffiti prevention. Immediately painting over graffiti may cost more early on, but the long-run benefits of doing so may be even bigger. Upon immediately painting over graffiti, the vandals would eventually get discouraged since the establishment being painted is deemed highly maintained. This means that their forms of expression would not last long on the walls.
The key to graffiti abatement is to try to fix the problems early on. In dealing with this, approaches like calling the police and installing security cameras may only benefit an establishment in the short run. Dealing with the problem by altering the behavior of the culprits may be more appropriate to create long-term solutions to the problem.