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Wealth & Poverty Review Overwhelmed by Graffiti, Seattle Citizens Step In To Help

Published at Shift WA on January 12, 2022

When he first started noticing the violent, pornographic and hateful graffiti on his street in Seattle, one resident (who wished to remain anonymous, so we’ll call him “Michael”) called the city. Eventually, he hoped, city workers would remove it.

Since the beginning of 2021, Michael stopped calling and waiting and instead took it upon himself to clean up graffiti in his neighborhood.

“I want people to know that they don’t have to feel powerless against graffiti,” Michael told me.

The Seattle Police Department once had a graffiti task force, but it was disbanded in 2017. Now the city, which is 83 square miles, funds a five-member group known as the “Graffiti Rangers.” But that’s not nearly enough to keep taggers at bay.

Graffiti is everywhere in Seattle, especially since the spring 2020 COVID-19 shutdowns. KOMO-TV called it a “widespread problem” last March.  A Seattle Times headline recently declared, “The taggers have won.” One local opined, “Seattle is so covered with graffiti it looks like a clown threw up on the city.”

Seattle has an app which enables citizens to report graffiti to the Graffiti Rangers, who will most likely respond within two to three weeks. But these response times are inadequate to residents like Michael. According to experts and any YouTube graffiti removal tutorial, the best way to win the war against the taggers is by removing the graffiti as quickly as possible.

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Read the rest at Shift WA.

Caitlin Bassett

Caitlin Bassett is a Policy Analyst and Communications Liaison for the Center for Science & Culture and the Center on Wealth & Poverty. Her main areas of focus are in Big Tech and its impact on human freedom, as well as homelessness and mental illness. In her free time, she enjoys delving into Lewis and Tolkien, cosmology, and running around historical sites on the East Coast. She graduated from Liberty University in 2017 with her Bachelor’s in Politics and Policy.