Is it about the state or people?
Graffiti is a form of expression but that does not mean it is necessarily a personal challenge to your freedom or your rights. Graffiti is just as much a form of art as any other, with its own specific rules and principles. Most people don’t think of them as such, but they are important. Graffiti is about freedom, in any form of expression, not just anti-graffiti efforts.
What is it about graffiti that attracts law enforcement?
Graffiti has long been a threat to many people. Graffiti is the most visible anti-environmental and anti-human phenomenon, so it attracts law enforcement attention. But why do so many police agencies arrest people for graffiti? It can be any crime (for example, “graffiti vandalism” is considered a serious crime in most states in the U.S.). Graffiti is a great excuse for arresting people and is an important means of creating a police presence in the community.
What makes graffiti so appealing to law enforcement?
It is easier to control, more visible, and more expensive than many other crimes. People also feel safer in the presence of law enforcement, and graffiti is the most visible anti-environment, anti-human action.
What is the difference between graffiti and other forms of art and popular culture?
Graffiti is more than just an act of vandalism. It is about art and culture. It can be a form of expression, an expression of an idea or a form of social interaction. Graffiti can also be about a specific place or person or it can be about a specific event in time. All of these are important. We need to understand these differences to see how effective the police can be. People may come to police stations with graffiti, but they certainly do not come with some random piece of graffiti to destroy. The police respond to a variety of calls. They also respond to graffiti. Many of the people arrested for graffiti are young people, or they are white.
Do people get arrested too much because they paint graffiti?
Yes. I have seen graffiti spray painted on schools, malls, parking lots, buildings, people and people’s homes. Many of these are not graffiti—but this is how the police have responded to these crimes. Graffiti has become a symbol of resistance. It has become an important part of social and political life and it has inspired the creation of many creative art pieces (such as muralism).
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