Also known as Vandalism and Vandals or Taggers.


  • The city of Pittsburgh spends more than $250,000 a year cleaning up graffiti.
  • The city has a Graffiti Task Force and Graffiti Busters.


  • Sprayed next to and on just about every store along Brookline is graffiti.


  • "I think it's terrible that people destroy other people's property, especially because people are trying to make a living up here," said business owner Veronica Sanner. Sanner has owned businesses in Brookline for 12 years.
  • "We spend upwards of $300,000 a year to remove graffiti," said Mayor Luke Ravenstahl. "We have crews out every day, but it is often times a challenge to keep up with." But Ravenstahl said graffiti should not be a problem soon.

"It comes down to enforcement. It comes down to having a graffiti task force in place, which I am happy to say we have now," said Ravenstahl. "Three detectives that are assigned specifically to the taskforce, and it is their role, and they have state of the art cameras now that enable them to go from tag to tag and match up the individual tags, so hopefully the increased ability to do that will lead to more prosecutions."





Councilman wants to increase penalties for graffitiEdit

Councilman Bruce Kraus has introduced amendments to existing law regulating anti-graffiti measures in the city.

These amendments follow several years of attention to the problem, including the appointment in 2005 of a Graffiti Task Force by former City Council President Gene Ricciardi, and recommendations that emerged during a March 25, 2008, post agenda hearing in City Council called by Councilman Kraus.

Previous legislation provided the city with tools for enforcement that included requiring the offender to compensate the city for the costs of removal, and the imposition of community service as a penalty. The new amendments are intended to provide a stronger deterrent to vandals, because monetary fines are attached. Further, the new amendments require the vendors who sell aerosol cans of paint and large felt tip permanent ink marking pens to limit public access to those materials.

"I have seen the explosion of graffiti on buildings, walls, and fixtures on public and private property, city-wide," said Councilman Kraus. "The warm summer months have historically been times of increased activity by people who wish to deface our beautiful neighborhoods, so it is urgent that we pass these new measures at this time."

The councilman specifically recognized the work of detectives Dan Sullivan, Alphonso Sloan, and Frank Rende in the Bureau of Police who were instrumental in bringing several recent prosecutions to a successful conclusion.

Councilman Kraus quoted former Council President Gene Ricciardi in reiterating that "We cannot afford to think of graffiti as a form of artistic expression. Destruction of public and/or private property must be treated as the criminal act it is, and perpetrators must be punished accordingly."

City establishes fines for graffitiEdit

May 21, 2008, by Rich Lord, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Pittsburgh City Council approved a crackdown on graffiti today, voting tentatively to slap new fines on violators that would go toward graffiti abatement.

The legislation, sponsored by Councilman Bruce Kraus, slaps a mandatory $100 fine on any graffiti conviction in which damage was $300 to $1,000; a $300 fine on a conviction for damage totalling $1,000 to $5,000; and a fine of $500 or more for convictions for damage of more than $5,000.

The fine money is in addition to restitution the offender must pay to the property owner, and goes into a trust fund for clean-up efforts. "Once the graffiti is gone, it rarely reappears," Mr. Kraus said.

The legislation also requires that retailers keep paint and other potential implements of graffiti either in clear sight of employees, or behind the counter, in an effort to prevent theft by would-be vandals.

"We want to see retail establishments actually keep implements of defacement in specific locations ... that are watched by employees," Mr. Kraus said.

Councilwoman Tonya Payne proposed bigger fines, but Mr. Kraus did not want to set them so high that judges would view them as excessive.

If approved in a final vote Tuesday, the rules would go to Mayor Luke Ravenstahl for his approval or veto.