New Graffiti Tagger Hits Columbia Heights

Photo by PoPville flickr user DooleyPhoto

“Dear PoPville,

In the night from Saturday to Sunday, several buildings and signs around the southern blocks of Columbia Heights (13th St. and Clifton, 13th St. and Euclid, alley 12th & Euclid, etc.) have been extensively tagged with “five-o” graffitis. Have you heard anything about that, or efforts to clean all this up? Our house has not been tagged itself so we were informed we can’t request removal ourselves.”

I’ve gotten a number of emails and photos about this. I’d rather not post the photos because I believe tags on occupied buildings and private property are nothing more than vandalism.

In Feb. ’11 we first spoke about the surge in graffiti tagging around DC. In Apr. ’11 we spoke about the difficulty in getting graffiti removed. In July ’11 MPD announced major graffiti arrests.

While I think a variety of preventative tactics are necessary, I like the way they attempt to prevent tagging in Paris.

37 Comment

  • if the goal is for it to stop, then posting about it won’t help.
    it will increase it.

    • Prince Of Petworth

      I thought about that which is why I did not post photos of the tags. I decided to post the issue because of the number of emails I received about this. I don’t think talking about the problem in and of itself and how to deal with it will increase it.

  • Let’s host a forum for them at Busboys.

  • “I’ve gotten a number of emails and photos about this. I’d rather not post the photos because I believe tags on occupied buildings and private property are nothing more than vandalism.”

    So tags on unoccupied buildings might not be vandalism or might be something more than vandalism? Silliness.

  • Several years ago I found out a quick way to help removing graffiti. Use either carburetor cleaner or WD40 on the effected areas. Spray over the graffiti and wipe away with clean cloth, now if this is unpainted wall/brick this is harder and may not work as well. These incidents happened during at night which was below 50 degrees, and because of this the spray paint has a much harder time adhering the surfaces, so the tags might be easier to remove. By the way a Police officer told me about this WD40 trick.

  • The problem is the DC mayor and the policies/priorities he sets.

    When Fenty was in office (and I am not trying to endorse him here) I pointed out graffiti to police officers multiple times and they reacted extremely quickly. They thanked me for pointing the graffiti out to them and they said they would let the gang unit know about it and in all cases the tags were gone within days.

    Judging from the reaction that I get from police officers these days when i report the graffiti is that it is just not a priority anymore for them. And that is something that will have to come down from higher ups.

    It is really sad to see and also when looking of the anti-gang successes in other cities really not understandable how the current administration in DC is ignoring this really low cost initiative.

    • Way to find a reason to blame Gray…

      I’ve called 311 about graffiti in my neighborhood numerous times and every single time it has been removed or covered within a few days.

      In fact, 311 seems to be MORE responsive in the last 6 months than it was previously.

      • My experience has been the opposite. 311 requests never seem to get completed for me without multiple calls and/or council member intervention.

        • Seriously? The operators are filling out a website, so you need to be very exact with them. I’ve had everything from road obstructions, to dumping, to blocked alleys, graffiti, missed trash pick up, everything, probably 20-25 calls in all over the past year (sorry, I might be an over consumer, but they’re so responsive at addressing issues on my street that I keep calling) and all of them have been addressed quickly.

  • Not only were building tagged, but ever van (like the big worker vans with no windows on the side) were tagged as well along Euclid street. That is messed up.

  • The OP and many other posters probably already have this info, but for anyone who doesn’t, the number for the D.C. government’s Graffiti Abatement Team is 202-645-5392.

    I haven’t dealt with them myself yet, but I have their number in my to-do list (to see if they can do anything about the graffiti on the security shutters of a corner store on Georgia Avenue, like either remove it themselves or make the store owner remove it).

  • I know this isn’t about graffiti but is it just me or has the amount of trash qaudrupled on sidewalks in CH? Especially at the metro entrance around Potbelly on the 14th side. Holy cow, I came out of metro last week and couldn’t believe the number of homeless men and piles of trash in the rose bushes.
    Is that Potbellys responsibility to clean that up? It sucks that the City spends a fortune to create a nice public space and folks just ruin it.

    • Potbelly’s should clean it up. Trash from fast food is a hidden cost and the producers should bear some responsibility for it. Also, who else is gonna do it?

    • I _think_ it’s the responsibility of stores to maintain the space outside, up to the curb. I know it’s definitely their responsibility (like it is for homeowners) to shovel in the winter.

      Since it’s the homeowner’s responsibility (I think) to maintain the grass, etc. in the space between the sidewalk and the curb, I would assume that Potbelly is responsible for doing something about the trash in the rose bushes.

      If there were a Columbia Heights BID I would recommend contacting them, but I think there isn’t.

      Maybe try asking the manager of Potbelly and seeing what happens?

      All-too-apropos Captcha (re. the litterers): BLAZY (Be Lazy)

  • and why can’t we put juvenile delinquents on work crews to remove all the graffiti and trash…especially the ones that keep running away from their halfway houses. Although I am sure pphil mendelson would argue that actual work would hurt their self esteem.

  • 90% of tagging/graffiti comes from white kids in the burbs. I know because I use to be one of them.

  • Prince Ali- while some of the more consistent “artistic” crap might come from suburbia (borf anyone?) I am betting that 95% of it is coming from local kids on the block. Which is why local kids ought to be out there cleaning this shit up. Most of it looks like local gang tags anyhow. I am pretty sure potomac kids haven’t joined “f-mob” on fairmont street.

  • 11th Street was absolutely hammered around Park and Monroe over the weekend as well, not sure if it was the same crew or a different gang. Either way, it is really awful and I hope all property owners will request clean-ups ASAP. Would be nice if the city put up a camera or two in high-graffiti areas, perhaps that would help, or other creative enforcement mechanisms …

    As a side note, hey Park Market, fyi, painting over the “MS-13” graffiti in exactly the same font as the graffiti does virtually nothing to obscure it. You have to paint the whole area!!!

  • Tagging is just as much art as is your love of wheat pastes, stencils, and other forms of illegal vandalism. Remeber Art is based on perception. Who is to say your perception is in the right? And who are you to deem one form of art legal or illegal based on whether you agree with the Aesthetics of it?

  • You must be hanging out with the wrong crowd.
    Time to move on from hanging out with teens.

  • isn’t 5-0 street slang for the cops/narcos? or have i just been watching too much of the wire…

  • Kudos to the city. I put in a graffiti abatement request form two days ago. The very next morning, they power washed my garage door and got the graffiti off. Very impressed with the efficient service and quick turnaround! Please please please encourage any property owner you know who has been tagged to fill out these forms, or to paint the graffiti over themselves!

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