Graffiti and our Real Estate Investments

By: Alan Olson

Recently there has been a rash of graffiti in the Fergus Falls area, and it is a disturbing modern trend of vandalism. Graffiti, when left to fester and multiply, can make neighborhoods look run-down and eventually lead to a reduction in property values for an entire area. That is why it is important that property owners, especially owners of commercial property, remove or paint over graffiti as soon as it appears.

As graffiti is usually a vandal's attempt at attracting attention to themselves, removing it as quickly as possible eliminates the satisfaction they receive knowing that people are viewing their name or whatever usually rude message they have left behind. If left alone, graffiti tends to multiply, as other vandals see the area as an easy target. Therefore, especially in urban areas, but potentially anywhere, it is important that a property owner keep a can of paint on hand that matches their building's exterior color. Conducting a regular tour of the outside of the building, and requesting employees or tenants to inform you immediately if any graffiti is visible, will make sure you can nip any problem with this form of property vandalism in the bud before it becomes a major problem.

It is sometimes controversial whose responsibility it is to clean up graffiti: a property owner or city officials. While many cities conduct graffiti clean-up programs, these often happen only once or twice a year. In addition, the volunteers or city staff responsible for the effort will likely only choose one or two colors with which to paint over graffiti, leaving an unsightly paint mark that isn't much better than the original eyesore-the graffiti. Therefore, while I would encourage any city to go forward with such graffiti clean-up measures, I assert that any responsible property owner will take removing graffiti upon themselves, and do it in a timely and affective manner.

A clean and attractive neighborhood is a valuable neighborhood.

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