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Graffiti: Costly and Damaging Essays

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Graffiti: Costly and Damaging


If one drives south on I-69 enough, they may begin to remember that “Bob loves Brenda” or that some bodies, only referred to as we, “hate people.” These things are written on the bridges, billboards, and road signs of the interstate to advertise the artist’s message to the general public, while drivers are left to think why should they care who loves who and who hates what. Graffiti is a part of the world that people see everyday and whether it is truly artful or a visual impediment is up to the individual.

Webster defines graffiti as an inscription or drawing made on some public surface. Graffiti is often thought of as gang-related, because gangs have traditionally painted their identifying symbols in places to mark their turf.

In Muncie, this is evident in the Westside Park. Underneath the bridge on Nichols Ave. is an array of graffiti, ranging from an extra-large red rose and a bull to a flowery symbol with the term “mas mota” written painted on it, a graphic of methamphetamine lab equipment, and in the far corner, a smiling face with a gunshot wound to its forehead. “Toby loves Jen” can also be found many times on the structure. As if to avoid detection, almost all of the graffiti is painted on the insides of the bridge that cannot easily be seen from the general park area.

Other places in Muncie have graffiti that can assumingly be gang related. The electrical box of the Speedway on Broadway and McGaillard roads is covered in black graffiti with unintelligible writing. TIS Bookstore in the University Village has the same incoherent symbol painted in many colors in several places, including the side of the building and a battered and broken booth in the parki...


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...dge at Westside Park has the remnants of many faded paint jobs that cover up graffiti from one generation only to reveal the next. Graffiti is a costly crime, ranging from $7-15 billion a year to erase from bridges, street signs, and public buildings. And once it has been painted over, it just becomes a blank canvas inviting new graffiti. There are not many preventative measures in Muncie, other than neighborhood watches, which are likely to decrease the amount of graffiti crimes in the future.

In Elkhart, Ind., the city has a commission that designates public places and young people who want to use their artistic energies to graffiti the walls of buildings and bridges with decorative art work. This art becomes more appealing to the public eye and detracts delinquents from depreciating the wall. A program like this could be just as effective in Muncie.


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