Dear PoP – surge in graffiti activity

“Dear PoP,

I have noticed a surge in graffiti activity in Columbia Heights over the past few weeks, but one takes a particularly long pause when it happens to your own property. Please see my crude photo documentation of the most recent tag “GA” along Girard between 11th and 14th. How annoying is this? Councilman Graham has been quick to respond. I think it’s fair to say it needs to be removed. How about preventing CH from turning into a late 1970’s NYC subway mural. CH has seen clear and present growth with respect to pride in ownership. The littering must stop, the graffiti must stop!”

More examples here – CH Girard artwork

49 Comment

  • Get yourself a webcam or a closed circuit camera for a couple of hundred dollars and get some pictures. I’m sure JG isn’t going to sit out there and there’s not much the cops can do without catching a guy red handed or film of the kid.

    • Easier – get yourself a can of grey spraypaint for five bucks and fix it, or call ask city to, and maybe they will.

      It’s almost impossible to “catch” someone unless you happen to see it and there’s a cop nearby. People are rarely caught or prosecuted for this and frankly for the amount of effort that would have to go into IDing, finding, arresting and convicting someone for this, i’d rather it went to finding assault and homicide suspects.

      I really doubt you could get any kind of positive ID from a webcam anyway. The best defense against grafitti is to remove it as soon as possible.

  • Note that citizen-submitted pictures of perps in action are not enough for MPD to act on in these cases, sorry.

    New graffiti all over Georgia Ave as well, actual MS-13 tags and such.

    You can of course report graffiti and request clean up via 311 or the Service Request Center…

    • Well, they can’t arrest or charge anyone, but once you know who’s doing it you know who’s doing it.

      • What good is that, unless you’re going to take them down yourself? I’d go so far as to pay to watch someone chasing a dumb graffiti-spraying kid down the street with a baseball bat, but sadly the average Columbia Heights resident isn’t likely to do that.

    • Yeah, there was an MS-13 tag on the Tivoli III building at the corner of Park and Hiatt a few weeks ago (its gone now). I wonder if there is real MS-13 activity in CH, or if the tags are just from copycats that think MS-13 is cool.

      • There is definitely MS13 in Columbia Heights, along with a handful of other gangs. They’re a lot less visible about their affiliation than they were say 10 years ago, but they’re certainly still here.

        • Jim Graham clearly wants their vote, given that his new signs are both in English and Spanish.


  • my infant son must have tagged these places.

    they all say ga – ga – ga – ga.

  • Does the GA on the light post stand for “graffiti activity”?

  • Beat taggers. Simple enough solution.

  • I think it stands for Girard Assholes, the gang up on Girard.

  • wait I’m just checking? There is trash and graffiti in Columbia Heights? Of all places. Look, don’t move to the hood if you don’t like the scenery. There’s a lovely place called Arlington that would probably be happy to house you and all your suburban needs.

    Or you can just get all gangster and cross his name off and tag your own over his. That’ll piss him off!

    • Typical hipster renter.

      • Hey, it there wasn’t graffiti and trash, it wouldn’t appear edgy enough for him

        @Casey. People in this and other parts of the town that have been here a lot longer than you have been out every weekend picking trash and cleaning this shit up long before moving to the city was ‘cool’. Why don’t you join us?

        captchs: dempsey victory (very appropriate)

    • Yeah, you’ll be back in Arlington before you know it.

    • That’s obnoxious. You can want to live in the neighborhood and not want to accept trash and graffiti there.

  • Lots of “Cone” along Irving St. recently. 311 has been pretty quick to remedy.

    Another thought: back in 1997, Rudy Giuliani did an SNL skit where he announced a new graffiti policy of stenciling “SUCKS” or “EATS IT” under tags. Sometimes I think that would be pretty awesome, IRL.

    • HAHA, that is exactly what I was thinking! Have somebody go around and add “Y” to the end of these tags; don’t think these thugs would be pleased to be know as the “gay” gang!

  • Casey, that’s ridiculous. No one’s pretending to be surprised that there’s graffiti. But that doesn’t mean people who live in CH (I don’t) should just have to suck it up or can’t try to change things.

    Oh, and by the way, I lived in a couple different parts of Arlington over the years before coming to DC. They have graffiti (and gangs) there too.

  • The wood fence of an unoccupied house across the alley from me was just tagged. I bought some “khaki” colored spraypaint for $2.50 at the hardware store and covered it up. The khaki paint is close enough to the color of wood so that you really have to look hard to see that there was grafitti there.

  • I’ve always been amazed at how the so called progressive hipsters who are supposedly so great at telling the rest of us how to live, are so lazy themselves.

    The fact that DC spends tax payer money giving out paint/supplies to people, who have had their houses/garages tagged, or washes it off for them floors me.

    Instead of seeing the grafitti in front of or on your house, running straight to your computer to blog and complain about it, then spending weeks making phone calls etc to city offices to get it cleaned up why don’t you either:

    1. Spend 5 minutes with some old fashioned soap/water or paint remover and scrub it off yourself.

    2. Buy a can of basic metallic gray spray paint and paint the base of the pole yourself.

    Either option will take approximately an hour, and that includes time to run to the store to buy supplies.

    Oddly enough…I doubt you will. It’s preferabe to spends weeks complaining about it until someone else spends their time and money to fix it.

  • I will attest it’s pretty easy to clean up small-scale grafitti. they sell Grafitti remover in spray cans at some hardware stores, it’s pretty strong stuff, so be careful. A couple of shots of that and a paper towel, and GA will be gone.

  • I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again – snipers.

    And I have no problem submiting a service request to have the city clean up the graffiti on our building. Yes it’s taxpayer money but it’s my taxpayer money and my time is better spent on other things.

    • I guess I’ll use the same excuse when I ask for (and get) the city to spend another couple million dollars on dog parks in my neighborghood despite being half a billion in the hole because I can’t possible be expected to do anything for myself or walk another couple blocks to the nearest one.

      “Yes it’s taxpayer money but it’s my taxpayer money and my time is better spent on other things.”

      It’s self obsessed attitudes like this that have gotten us in fiscal trouble as it is, and made entire generations of “lazy insufferable d-bags” such as yourself.

      I hate to break it to you, but you are no astrophysicist working round the clock on an asteriod defense system. Quit being such as lazy waste of oxygen and take some personal pride in things and fix it yourself.

      • HaHaHa…classic.

      • i find your mentality intriguing, and one that i tentatively agree with assuming that it stays moderate libertarian doesnt veer towards bat shit crazy anarchist… what exactly do you see as an appropriate call to 311? what are appropriate uses for tax money? thanks!

        • Hey, I am no “water the tree of liberty” no taxes EVER, tea party quack, but DC (as well as many other local jurisdictions) live in a constant state of irresponsible and lazy indulgence. I’ve lived here decades, and DC has never made an effort to make meaningful cut to any spending, or live within a budget. The only difference is soemtimes it gets so bad that Congress repeals out Self Rule and appoints people to run finances, or the City experiences a huge economic boom like they did from 2000 to 2007 and despite all efforts to spend the money growing on trees, the city still had a surplus.

          There has NEVER been one year since I’ve lived here that the city lived within it’s means. I’ve lived places where the town administrators had to make painful decisions, and did. D.C.’s first reaction to any budget issue is to first raise taxes and secondly try to reduce expenses. When they do “try” they do meaningless crap like eliminate the 100 open positions in some government dept that have been vacant for years. Thats nothing more than moving money from one pocket to another.

          I think DC, any city for that matter needs to focus its priorities on the following areas, and in this order.

          Safety (Fire/Police)
          Economic Development
          Cultural Development

          This “call 311 and get your house repainted for free” bullshit is a program started in ~2003 when the city budget was increasing ~10% per year and there was still a surplus of money. It’s completely ridiculous and just screams “lazy wasteful spending”.

          I think spending tens of millions of dollars a year on bike lanes, when cyclist don’t even like them and choose not to ride in them even when they have the opportunity, or 50 million on dog parks, or 30 million a year for the summer jobs program. Give me a break…”paying” kids to sit idle all day so they don’t go out and raise hell? It’s a disgrace.

          You’ll see fire/police was first on my list, but every year the City spends an extra 50 million dollars on combined overtime for those two departments. Why is it impossible to set realistic hiring and training goals so we have enough people on staff so we aren’t paying the ones we do have immense amounts of overtime?

          Heck, DC spends almost $30 million a year in a city lawnmowing contract, mowing open spaces and parks not maintained by the NPS. The ridiculousness is their contract is a fixed price to mow every 5 calendar days. The city mows its grass more than I do mine. If we get dry months in July/August like we always do, they are still out there “mowing” the brown dead grass. Simply doubling the time frame to every 10 days would save the city 15 million a year.

          God forbid city employees go one year without a raise. I own a medium size private engineering consulting firm. I along with the 20 or so staff make a lot of money and we had to do away with both raises and bonuses last year.

          I think it is pretty ridiuclous to expect raises during the worst economic period in a couple generations.

          DC City Council members all get their own yearly “fluff” budgets. A combined tens of millions per year they get to individually give out to causes near and dear to their individual hearts.

          DPW could push back residential trash collection 1 day…1 day and collect every 8 days instead of 7 which which saves the city almost 10 million per year. Are we really saying that the city is going to be overrun with vermin if trash collection is pushed back 1 day?

          And don’t get me started on the DC welfare state. The city spends almost a billion dollars a year on programs that hire hundreds of people to take kids to appointments because their welfare moms can’t be bothered. I am a raging liberal and think we all have an obligation to the less fortunate, but there are limitations. DC’s “welfare state budget” was just over 700 million in 2005. I don’t remember armies of poor people living in the street, or soup kitchen lines around the block in 2005. What possible reason can DC not reset these expenditures back to their levels 5 years ago and save us ~300 million a year?

          in 2005 DC agreed to spend 3.5 billion over 10 (350 million per year) years to renovate and modernize the public schools. I will be the first to admit the publci schools had been horribly neglected for decades and the modernization was needed. But in times of severe economic distress, you have to make changes to your plan. There is nothing irresponsible for extending the plan to 11 years and cutting or 12 years and saving ~30 million a year, or deciding to only put new swimming pools in 1 school next year rather than 3.

          I’ve really started to ramble, but I could go on for hours. All of the changes I suggested above could easily be enacted on a temprorary basis for a couple of years until the economy returned, or become permanent.

          Anyone who has ever had to make a personal household budget could look over the DC Budget and see it is still full of low hanging fruit despite all their rhetoric.

          • these are good thoughts/ideas. you should run for office. except that you’d lose, because nobody likes you.

          • What you are proposing requires logic and common sense, both of which rarely enter politics and government. Ideas that require fewer employees or an employee doing more to get by don’t prevail because there aren’t profit motives and/or the fear of going out of business, which you must deal with as a business owner. Public sector unions create a huge conflict of interest that grow your low hanging fruit every year. Typically, mediocrity is attracted to the stability and security associated with working for the government and mediocrity breeds mediocrity. We need a legit way to create competition within the ranks of government.

          • Wish I had a dime for every time I heard someone around here claim “I’m a raging liberal, BUT…”

            Lots of conservatives in denial around these parts.

          • where can i get a ‘joker for mayor’ campaign sign?

      • So what do you do for a living?

  • Living in columbia heights, it’s natural to expect some degree of crime, trash and yes even graffiti. I am not a renter, and take pride in the fact I have chosen to live in the city rather than .. for instance, Arlington. That being said, the community doesn’t have to accept graffiti. Taking “pride in ownership” of the neighborhood is particularly important for a mixed income area. A broken window begets a broken window.

    • “I am not a renter, and take pride in the fact I have chosen to live in the city rather than .. for instance, Arlington…” anyone else find this to be a hilariously self-righteous sentiment?

  • “How about preventing CH from turning into a late 1970’s NYC subway mural.”

    If only the new graffiti were anywhere near that good, I’d be pumped. Instead, It’s just crappy little tags devoid of any artistic merit whatsoever.

  • Deciding to live in the city, pay city taxes in area where the tax payer benefits are far less than suburbs (schools etc) and wanting your neighbors to take part in a movement to be more community conscious and “green” is NOT self-righteous, but I hear you man 🙂

    • Jeez dude, I think you proved his/her point. DC is not the “good choice” any more than Arlington is the “bad choice.” Different strokes for different folks and all that jazz.

  • …people to pull their pants up. Once we have that epidemic under control, then we move on to the graffiti.

  • Graffiti sucks, but I’ve found the city to be pretty responsive when you submit a ticket to their website. As others have suggested, when it’s on your property, a quick run to Ace Hardware and elbow grease will fix it in half an hour for less than $5. The quicker you get rid of it the less likely it is to return. Perps always return to the scene of their crime to admire their work. If it’s not there they won’t come back as often to admire.

  • how do diapers end up on the street?
    i see them daily when i walk my dog in coheights…
    why do people seem to think that trash is acceptable in a city?

    • If you respect your neighbors, and your neighborhood, you wouldn’t toss trash on the street. There are plenty of trash cans in CH. Is this 1980? Do we need to remind people that trash goes in trash cans? What’s next, reminding people not to smoke in bed.

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