ASK THE TIMES: What’s Being Done About All the Graffiti?


Pearson Square's new look . . .

Pearson Square's new look . . .

A reader asks:

Graffiti seems to be a continuing problem in the City. I’m not surprised to see it in rundown areas such as behind Bowl America, but I’m particularly disturbed when it crops up in brand-new places such as Pearson Square. Is there any requirement for property owners to clean this up? I’m concerned that a little graffiti ignored becomes a lot of graffiti over time. And I’ve read that gangs use graffiti to mark their territory. What are the police doing about this?

Falls Church Deputy Police Chief Mary Gavin responded:

The Police Department is taking a three-pronged approach of intervention, prevention, and enforcement to address this ugly mark on the community’s landscape. 

Intervention methods include creating an informational brochure on what to look out for and how to report these crimes to the police. 

As for enforcement, recently our investigating officers developed enough intelligence to conduct two search warrants that led to the arrest of two local juveniles, resulting in over 20 charges.

Most of the graffiti littering the City landscape is from “taggers.” Taggers are usually not affiliated with a particular gang, but consider themselves urban graffiti “artists.”

Officers work with surrounding jurisdictions and the courts to determine the best practice for recuperating and rehabilitating defaced properties. Although progress is being made, graffiti is a continuous problem requiring constant attention.

The community can cooperate by quickly reporting instances of graffiti so that police may document and photograph it. After an incident is documented, property owners need to remove graffiti as soon as possible.

When graffiti is not removed promptly, the officer will often remind property owners and encourage them to take action, as graffiti does tend to invite more incidents.

The current City ordinance does not have a requirement for property owners to remove graffiti within any given time period.

Have a question about the City that might be on fellow residents’ minds as well? Email your question here, and we’ll try to get an answer.


Bowl America's backside facing Big Chimneys Park.

Bowl America's backside facing Big Chimneys Park.


Previous ASK THE TIMES questions:
Pay Property Tax with a Credit Card?
Why Are Purple Bows Tied to Trees?
Why Not Use the Old Red Light Cameras?
Rolling Carts for Heavy Recycling Loads?
Status of Hilton Garden Inn?
Questions about Northgate

May 25, 2009 


One Response to “ASK THE TIMES: What’s Being Done About All the Graffiti?”

  1. George Bromley on May 26th, 2009 11:28 pm

    The back of the bowling alley has long been a magnet for graffiti, but it’s discouraging to see such “art” on Pearson Square. The sooner it’s removed the better, since its mere presence tends to attract other “artists.” This is a variation of the broken windows syndrome that I referenced when discussing the state of the Northgate site.

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