THE GRAFFITI ORDINANCE
In Title 11 of the Minneapolis Code of Ordinances, Chapter 226.40 states that the owner or occupant of any property within the City shall effectively remove all graffiti within twenty (20) days of the graffiti’s appearance.
Dial 911 – for all in-progress incidents
Dial 311 or 612-673-3000
- Graffiti reports NOT in-progress
- Live answer Monday – Friday 7:00 am to 11:00 pm
- Voice mail reports taken outside regular business hours
City of Minneapolis, Clean City Coordinator
309 2nd Avenue South, Rm 210, Minneapolis, MN 55401-2281
- Customer Service Agents enter the report
- Clean City Crew Members take digital photographs within 3 business days.
After 3 business days, please remove graffiti as quickly as possible. When it is quickly removed, the vandal is denied the satisfaction of having his or her ‘tag’ on display. If the vandal should return to write graffiti again, it is important that you report it each time so that we get complete documentation.
Each property owner is responsible for removing graffiti from his or her property within 20 days of notification by the department of Housing Inspections. The following information should help you with the removal options.
If you need further assistance with removal, contact the Clean City Coordinator at (612) 673-2789.
(Painted wood, painted concrete, painted stucco, etc.)
- Apply a stain-killing primer or pigmented shellac. This will keep the graffiti from bleeding through fresh paint.
- Repaint surface with a color that closely matches the original surface.
Unpainted (Sensitive) Surfaces
(Brick, cement, concrete, stone, etc.)
- Use extra-strength paint remover or graffiti remover.
- Apply with a wire brush, allow to set, wash off with a high-pressure water hose.
- Use paint remover, wash off with a high-pressure water hose.
- Or, use stucco paint and thoroughly cover graffiti.
Metal, aluminum siding, fiberglass
- Use carburetor cleaner.
- Or, use paint remover sparingly; rinse carefully.
- Use carburetor cleaner
- Rinse carefully
- Scrape away as much of the sticker as possible
- Use nail polish remover or acetone-based cleaner to remove the gummy residue
- Some graffiti removal contractors offer scratch removal for glass. Look in the Yellow Pages under ‘Glass Repair’ for a contractor.
- Sometimes, the only way to restore the glass is to replace it.
Free graffiti-removal solvent is available at your local Fire Station. Local hardware and paint stores carry a variety of effective graffiti-removal products formulated for different surfaces. Always read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully as many solvents are toxic. Some of the newer products are biodegradable and less toxic.
To hire a professional contractor to remove the graffiti, look in the Yellow Pages under ‘Graffiti Removal & Protection’ for a list of private businesses.
There is a temporary City-sponsored graffiti paint-over program for graffiti on painted surfaces, which are accessible, and not over 8 feet high. The City will notify the building owner and ask for authorization to paint over the graffiti. With the owner’s consent, the City will pay the vendor’s fee for painting the surface in a color to match the existing surface as closely as possible.
City staff will remove graffiti from public property. Once the report is made to the Graffiti Hotline, removal orders are issued promptly.
Some neighborhoods have organized graffiti removal teams to take graffiti off public property in their area. They can get remover solution from their local fire station. We ask that they do not attempt to remove graffiti from stop signs with reflective material (the remover will damage them). Paint is also available for the paint over of yellow traffic signal poles, brown traffic signal control boxes, green traffic signal pole bases and red fire hydrants. Paint is available from Solid Waste and Recycling to request supplies contact the Clean City Coordinator at 612-673-2789 for an application.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO PREVENT GRAFFITI
Teach your children responsibility and respect for themselves, their environment and the property of others. They need to know that graffiti on private AND public property is illegal and disrespectful.
Teach pride in community. Parents, teachers and community leaders are needed to help deter graffiti taggers. For hundreds of youth, graffiti becomes a way of life with its own code of conduct, jargon and aesthetic standards. Tagging is known to lead to shoplifting and other crimes.
Report suspicious behavior to the Police. If you see someone about to write graffiti or commit any other crime, dial 911 immediately. You may report anonymous tips about graffiti vandals to the Graffiti Hotline, 612-673-2090.
Protect Your Property
- Keep your property well maintained. Remove graffiti immediately upon receiving confirmation from the Police.
- Plant clinging vegetation like ivy to protect walls and other large, flat surfaces.
- Plant thorny or thick bushes and fences in front of large walls.
- Eliminate anything that could encourage loitering after hours (benches, pay phones, etc.).
- Limit access to roofs – move commercial dumpsters away from walls and cover drainpipes to prevent vandals from scaling them.
- When painting your property, consider darker colors that are less attractive to graffiti vandals.
- Increase lighting around your property; use motion detectors to draw attention to movement.
- Consider applying a protective coating, which provides a barrier between your property’s surface and the graffiti. Several different brands and prices are available. Check the Yellow Pages under ‘Graffiti Removal & Protection.
Work with local art and paint suppliers to make graffiti materials less available for shoplifting.
Encourage your neighbors to be attentive, look at what’s going on around them and report all suspicious activity.
- There are many advantages when block clubs, neighborhood organizations and other groups band together to protect their environment:
- Form a neighborhood graffiti removal crew and help those who are not able to do so themselves.
- Get neighborhood businesses to sponsor clean up and prevention efforts.
- Create a watch force for areas frequently vandalized.
- Involve the community youth in removing graffiti.
- Help identify and apprehend taggers involved in graffiti.
- Participate in the City’s public property adoption programs (litter containers, blocks, streets).
- Community Crime Prevention/SAFE assists residents to develop strong community groups and good working relations with the Minneapolis Police Department.
TYPES OF GRAFFITI
Graffiti is an all-too-common form of malicious destruction. If it is left on surfaces too long, taggers believe that the neighborhood will tolerate more graffiti.
Taggers gain recognition and status from their peers by placing distinctive ‘tags’ in as many places as possible or by painting highly stylized murals or ‘pieces.’ They intend for them to be seen by other taggers and these tags are generally illegible to the untrained eye.
Is designed to promote a gang, mark territory, warn rivals, recruit new members, intimidate a neighborhood, and serves as a means of communication. It may include letters, symbols or numbers known only by gangs and law enforcement.
The posting of flyers, stickers, nametags, blank labels and other paper notices to utility and light poles, trees and vacant buildings. Vandals draw their tag on the stickers and quickly apply them to surfaces. Besides creating an eyesore, snipe ads are damaging, difficult and expensive to remove. Flyers stapled or nailed to trees create wounds that lead to disease.
GRAFFITI IS NOT ART
Graffiti is a crime. Not only is it vandalism, but it is also a public nuisance and a health and safety hazard. Vandals write, scribe, etch, spray paint and place stickers on any surface. The cost to remove graffiti and repair the damage is estimated at over $7 billion per year nationally. The cost of doing nothing however, is far greater.
Graffiti vandals come from every ethnic and income level. They include honor-role students and under-achievers. At one time, graffiti was primarily a problem only in larger cities. In more recent years graffiti has spread into the suburbs, small towns, and rural areas. Because vandals like to mark surfaces where their peers will recognize their ‘tag,’ they do most of their damage in communities where they live and play.
The majority of vandals are young males between 12 and 21 years old. While few graffiti vandals are female, their numbers are on the rise.
Crime often increases in neighborhoods where graffiti is allowed to proliferate. Graffiti left untouched encourages litter, loitering, violence, more graffiti, and sends the wrong message – that we cannot keep order in our community.
A neighborhood plagued by graffiti generates fear and becomes unappealing to prospective homeowners and tenants. Graffiti creates a condition of blight, which can result in the deterioration of property values and is inconsistent with the City’s aesthetic standards.
DIRECT BUSINESS CONTACTS
All reports of graffiti should go through the City’s 311 Call Center for proper documentation. The property owner, however, is fully responsible for the removal of graffiti.
CenterPoint Energy (Minnegasco)——— 612-321-4662
City Business vendor boxes————– 612-288-2100
City Pages vendor boxes—————– 612-372-3713
Metro Transit bus shelters————– 612-349-7678
MNDOT freeway signs & bridges———– 651-582-1550
Pioneer Press vendor boxes————– 651-228-2133
Star Tribune vendor boxes————— 612-673-4313
US Bench Co. bus benches—————- 612-721-2525
US Postal Service mail boxes———— 612-349-0322
USA Today vendor boxes—————— 651-636-4100
Quest telephone poles, boxes, booths—- 800-954-1211
Xcel Energy transfer boxes————– 612-630-4567