Graffiti is a form of criminal mischief (vandalism) where private or public property is defaced with unwanted and often derogatory markings. The intent of some violators is to simply deface property. However, some graffiti is placed by violators who have a criminal gang affiliation and their purpose is to notify the community and other gangs of their presence. This practice is known as "tagging" (gang related graffiti pictured above). Research has shown that if a community ignores graffiti it can result in citizens feelings less secure, the loss of business growth, a decrease in tourism, and an increase in other forms of crime and delinquency. Just as broken windows in a building that are not repaired encourage more windows to be broken, the unchecked proliferation of graffiti will encourage further vandalism. Research has also shown that aggressive graffiti eradication programs are linked to a community's increased sense of security, growth in business and tourism, and a decrease in other forms of crime and delinquency.
Removal of GraffitiThe City of Lafayette initiated a graffiti eradication program with the legislation of City Ordinance 302.01 "Removal of Graffiti" in 2007. The Lafayette Police Department (LPD) administrates this program. In brief, the Ordinance states that it is the duty of the property owner to remove, cover, or eradicate graffiti from their property within 15 days of discovery. Frequently, graffiti reports are made to the Lafayette Police Department, and the property owner is not aware of the vandalism. When this occurs, LPD will notify the property owner of the vandalism and request that the markings be removed within 15 days. LPD will work with those property owners who, for good cause, need additional time to remove the graffiti.
Graffiti InvestigationThe objectives of the program are to document and investigate these acts of criminal mischief, determine if they are gang related for proactive intelligence purposes, apprehend and charge the offenders whenever possible, facilitate the prompt removal of the markings from private and public property, and assist owners in restoring their property.
Mike KoningThe graffiti eradication program has been very successful. This success is due in large part to the volunteer work of Lafayette citizen, Mike Koning. Mr. Koning donated his time responding to graffiti reports, locating unreported graffiti, and working with property owners in removing the markings. The City of Lafayette and the Lafayette Police Department are grateful to Mr. Koning for his efforts and community spirit.
In 2017 Mike Koning passed away, his dedication and contribution to the city will be forever missed.