Graffiti are images or lettering scratched, scrawled, painted, or marked in any manner on property. Each gang has its unique symbols and cryptic types of writing. It is used as a form of communication to publicize a gang’s power, status, and territory. Gang members use graffiti to send messages to other gangs using codes with common meanings, mark their territory or turf, declare their allegiance to the gang, advertise a gang’s status or power, and to challenge rivals. Graffiti that is drawn upside down or crossed out is generally a 'put down' or threat to a rival gang or person. Some gangs will even use graffiti as 'Death warrants' towards police officers.
Graffiti, by legal definition, is vandalism. It is the unauthorized application of markings on someone else’s property, i.e., WITHOUT PERMISSION.
The intent of gang graffiti is to glorify the gang. Gang graffiti is also meant to create a sense of intimidation and may increase the sense of fear within a neighborhood. There is an inherent violence associated with gang graffiti. A neighborhood marked with gang graffiti is a neighborhood threatened by crime and violence associated with gang activity, such as drive-by attacks.
Florida Department of Corrections - Gangs and Security Threat Group Awareness
Remember the 4 R's of graffiti:
READ IT, RECORD IT, REPORT IT & REMOVE IT
- Read it
Gang graffiti can be dangerous, remember it can contain an outright threat
- Record it
Graffiti should be photographed for future use
- Report it
Graffiti should be reported to your local law enforcement agency
- Remove it
Graffiti should be removed as soon as possible after it is discovered
- What Is a Gang?
- How Are Gangs Identified?
- Gang Types
- How Do Gangs Recruit Their Members?
- Common Gang Initiations
- Why Young People Join Gangs?
- How Old Are Gang Members?
- Major Factors That May Contribute To Youth Gang Involvement
- Warning Signs That Your Child May Be Involved with a Gang
- What Can Parents Do To Prevent Gang Involvement?
- What Are Some School-based Anti-Gang Strategies?
- What Are Some Community Anti-Gang Strategies?
- Common Myths About Gangs
- How Do I Report Gang Activity?