Imagine the following scenario: A tagger defaces a beige wall by spraying his gang name in red paint.
By the following morning, the graffiti has disappeared, and the wall has a new coat of matching paint.
A version of the situation has played out in Fullerton nearly 3,500 times, thanks in part to a free smartphone app called “MyFullerton.”
Police say quickly removing graffiti is an important part of its crime prevention strategy. Officials encourage residents to download the app.
“Research shows that criminals tend to gravitate to areas filled with graffiti and other forms of decay,” says Sgt. Jeff Stuart. “By maintaining our community to the highest possible standards, we’re sending a message to criminals that they aren’t welcome here.”
The app can be downloaded from a smartphone’s “App Store” or Google Play.
It’s simple to use.
Open the app on your phone, choose “graffiti removal” from the drop down menu and follow a few simple steps to report the location of the tagging. Then, the app prompts you to take a photo.
Within hours, the tagging is gone.
“That’s really one of the most important factors,” Stuart said. “Taggers want people to see their vandalism, and our quick response really discourages them.”
City officials say the app has been downloaded 3,760 times. In addition to graffiti removal, it also allows residents to report illegal trash dumping, potholes sidewalk defects and more.
Among the benefits of contracting with a private company for graffiti removal: they are available seven days a week to respond to calls for service and they maintain more than 40 different paint colors on their trucks. That means they are very likely to find a match. Even if the color can’t be matched in the field, the company stores custom colors in its Santa Ana warehouse, officials say.
City officials contracted with Graffiti Protection Services after it removed more than four million square feet of graffiti in Santa Ana.
For residents who haven’t embraced mobile technology, you can still call the city’s graffiti hotline at (714) 738-3108.
“It’s really a cool and easy way for residents to participate in keeping Fullerton in great shape,” Stuart said. “It would be terrific if more people downloaded the app. Let us know if you see something wrong. We want to fix it and by working together, we can enhance our community”