Chicago touts faster graffiti removal process

Chicago touts faster graffiti removal process

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is leading the graffiti removal charge in the city.

The city’s Department of Streets and Sanitation reports that it improved tagging clean-up response times by 46 percent since 2011 with the implementation of a gird system, according to the Mayor's office.

Today, it takes the city an average of 3.62 days to respond to a graffiti report. In 2011 the response time for was 6.75 days.

“Rapid graffiti removal is one of the best deterrents for future graffiti vandalism,” Emanuel says.

“By constantly improving our graffiti removal efficiency, decreasing removal response time and increasing graffiti vandalism penalties and fines, Chicago is establishing a comprehensive and effective citywide approach to fight graffiti vandalism in all neighborhoods and keep our neighborhoods clean.”

Emanuel’s grid system targets four city wards each day, responding to outstanding graffiti removal calls. Each of the city’s 50 wards is cleaned once per week. 

In an effort to deter vandalism, the city has also increased fines for tagging from $500 to up to $2,500.

If Chicago homeowners are hit with graffiti, they’re encouraged to call 311 or visit the Department of Streets and Sanitation website to file a report.

DIY graffiti removal

For residents who don’t want to wait for a city of Chicago crew to clean graffiti from their homes or businesses, there are a couple do-it-yourself methods.

Spray paint: Because most spray paints are oil based and difficult to remove, a specialty detergent along with a pressure washer will be required to clean graffiti from just about any surface. But be careful where you aim that pressure washer, as damages can occur on more delicate surfaces like awnings and window screens.

Marker: For graffiti left with a marker, a citrus-based detergent and pressure washer will help break down the stain.

While attacking the graffiti yourself, can certainly save time and money, calling in a professional power washing crew may be your best bet. Improper removal techniques can leave permanent stains and cost more to fix in the future.


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