Almost 1,400 tags were reported in 2013. Prompt reporting of graffiti by citizens greatly improves cleanup response times and provides valuable information for the prosecution of the taggers. As always, call 9-1-1 if you witness a crime in progress.
On Public Property:
Graffiti Hotline: 360.570.3737
The goal of this hotline is to encourage the public to report graffiti in a way that facilitates removal and gathers information that can help identify trends. Police volunteers will monitor the message line and respond to document and photograph the graffiti. Please include the physical location and description of the graffiti. Contact information is encouraged but not required. For tags on private property, referrals will be made to the property owner requesting removal.
Taking Pictures Helps
If you can take pictures of graffiti before it is removed, this will assist the Olympia Police Department. This also helps us gather information about any possible gang activity in the area. Simply attach photos to your email, including the location of the tag and the date the pictures were taken.
On Your Property:
File a Police Report: 360.704.2740
Graffiti is also addressed under the International Property Maintenance Code as administered by Code Enforcement. Code Enforcement holds the property owner responsible for restoring the surface to a state of repair.
The best defense against ongoing graffiti is prompt cleanup. Taggers do not get satisfaction when their work is painted over or removed. Remember, there are more of 'us' than 'them' and the battle against graffiti is one that is winnable with the right effort.
Graffiti Removal Kits Now Available!
See tagging on City property and want to help? Have a problem with graffiti in your neighborhood? The City of Olympia provides graffiti removal kits free of charge to recognized Neighborhood Associations & Block Watch neighborhoods. Call the Graffiti Hotline at 360.570.3737, or email firstname.lastname@example.org to request yours. Be sure to include the Neighborhood Association or Block Watch group you are representing, as well as your name and contact information.
You can make your own kit
If you're not part of a Neighborhood Association or Block Watch, but still want to help fight graffiti, you can easily and affordably make your own kit.
Here's what to include
- Protective equipment: Rubber gloves, face mask, and eye protection
- Hand towels
- Graffiti remover: local hardware stores have many options - pick the one that's right for you
- Soft brush
- Scrub brush
- Green scrubbing pads
- Black or dark brown spray paint, for use on wooden poles.
Don't Damage Property by Mistake
Some materials or surfaces can be easily damaged during the cleaning process, doing more harm than good. These items require special care, techniques or professional cleaning.
What NOT to do
- DO NOT remove graffiti from the front of traffic signs (stop, speed limit, etc.) as it destroys the reflective material. If you see graffiti on a traffic sign, please call the Graffiti Hotline at 360.570.3737
- DO NOT pressure wash historical buildings
- DO NOT use chemicals to remove graffiti from pervious sidewalks, just pressure wash
- DO NOT paint pervious concrete to cover graffiti, as the paint will clog the pores in the concrete
Help for Tags on Public Property
When you can't clean it yourself, use the resource list below for help with tags on public property.
Graffiti Resource List
- Downtown businesses: call the ODA at 360.357.8948
- City property (signs, garbage cans, etc.): call the Graffiti Hotline at 360.570.3737
- City parks: call Parks, Arts, and Recreation, at 360.753.8380
- State property (including buildings, bridges or parks): call 360.586.0566
- PSE power boxes: call Puget Sound Energy at 1.888.225.5773
- Qwest boxes: call Qwest repair services at 1.800.573.1311
- Pacific Disposal Carts: call Pacific Disposal at 360.923.0111
Fight Paint with Paint
Many local businesses and neighborhoods have painted artistic murals on walls that have been chronically tagged. Murals are an amazing way to deter future tags and vandalism, and have the added benefit of creating neighborhood pride and identity.
Start a Block Watch
Block Watch is one of the most effective and least costly ways to prevent not only graffiti, but all types of crime in your neighborhood. Block Watch fights the isolation that crime both creates and feeds upon. An active Block Watch also builds neighborhood pride, forging bonds between residents, and serves as a springboard for efforts that address other community concerns such as recreation for youth, child care, and affordable housing. Learn more...