Is Graffiti just art?

In the area where I work, there tends to be some graffiti.  Well, actually, there is a lot of it.  When I arrived at work this beautiful Monday morning, the entire dumpster next to our office was painted with the name of some gang or tagging crew.  This really ticked me off. 

In court I often have to defend young men who like to paint their name on anything that has a canvas – even a poor dumpster.  I have found that the prosecution has started to really crack down on these vandalism crimes – even requiring a felony with a strike (under a gang allegation) sometimes.  Usually these young men are between the age of 18 and 25 with their entire futures ahead of them.  A felony will certainly become a barrier between them and a job – which might lead them even further down a road of breaking the law.

And yet – the vandalism is ugly.  It causes reductions in property values.  It says that the community does not care enough about its lawful citizens to do something about it.  A punishment is required – but what should it be?

What do you think?


2 thoughts on “Is Graffiti just art?

  1. They should be forced to clean it up and repaint. Then, they should be given jobs hand-painting the outsides of Habitat for Humanity homes or other low-income housing. They should repaint (meaning, remove old paint, clean, prime, etc.) senior citizen housing. They can paint park benches, park picnic tables, etc. If they like to paint so much, let them! 🙂

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