CRP has been following and researching graffiti abatement policy for many years. One of the trends in the field of graffiti abatement has been the privatization of abatement and the outsourcing of abatement contracts from city Public Works agencies to private corporations. This short article is particularly interesting because the city of San Jose has outsourced its abatement services to Graffiti Abatement Coatings, who also makes graffiti removal products. One important point to note is that the city was forced to increase their allocation to this private contractor because of a spike in graffiti. CRP will be requesting records from the city of San Jose to determine if the commission of a private contractor for graffiti removal has impacted the amount of graffiti in San Jose over the long-term. Readers may remember that San Jose was considered a model city for the implementation for the “Broken Windows” theory several years ago. It appears that the impact of their high-intensity abatement program has not lasted. Contrast the following article with CRP’s statement on the City of Oakland’s outsourcing of abatement services in specific Oakland neighborhoods. Also check out CRP’s policy pages for our policy recommendations.

“Most are happy with cleaning up graffiti. Most … Public employee unions and their City Council sympathizers howled when San Jose outsourced graffiti abatement to a private enterprise, arguing that the city would soon be awash in tags while company owners laughed their way to the bank. A graffiti spike that also forced the city to budget more for the contractor’s cleanup costs fueled the outrage. But city parks officials who oversee graffiti abatement indicated at a council committee last week that the program with contractor Graffiti Protective Coatings is popular with the public. “The city has seen overwhelmingly positive feedback from the community regarding GPC’s quality of work and timeline,” acting parks director Julie Edmonds-Mares said in her report. The report quotes residents gushing with satisfaction over the cleanup: “Great quality work!” “5-star work!” The remarks’ authors aren’t identified, but one of them had placed a complaint about some Doerr Park graffiti via the city’s smartphone graffiti-cleanup app at the request of former Councilwoman Linda LeZotte. “The project was done quickly,” wrote the person who summoned the cleanup crew, “but I can’t respond to the quality of work since I’m back at the office!”