San Benito County Office of Education – (831) 637-5393
Aromas-San Juan Unified School District – (831) 623-4500
Bitterwater Tully Union School District – (831) 385-5339
Cienega Union School District – (831) 637-3961
Hollister School District – (831) 630-6300
Jefferson Elementary School District – (831) 389-4593
North County Joint Union School District – (831) 637-5574
Panoche Elementary School District – (831) 628-3438
Southside School District – (831) 637-4439
Tres Pinos Union Elementary School District – (831) 637-6503
Willow Grove Union Elementary School District – (831) 628-3256
City of Hollister, Graffiti Hot Line – (831) 638-4175
City of Hollister, Graffiti Abatement Program
- Public Works – (831) 636-4365 or (831) 636-4340
San Benito County, Graffiti Abatement Program
- Public Works – (831) 636-4170
Graffiti Tips for Homeowners
How homeowners can prevent graffiti:
- Get educated. Learn about graffiti vandalism, how it impacts you and your community, how to report it, and who is responsible for graffiti prevention and cleanup in your area. Start by visiting Keep America Beautiful’s Graffiti Hurts website at www.graffitihurts.org and visit the city’s and county’s websites.
- Keep up appearances. Make every effort to keep the appearance of your residence clean and neat. Litter, broken fences, overgrown landscaping, and poor lighting send a message to vandals that property owners are not attentive or do not care.
- Remove graffiti quickly. Rapid and continual removal of graffiti is the bet way for homeowners to protect their property and preserve the image of their neighborhood. Studies show that removal within 24 to 48 hours results in a nearly zero rate of reoccurrence. Also, work with the city or county to ensure that graffiti is removed rapidly from public areas near or around your residence.
- Build in prevention. Incorporate shrubs, thorny plants, and vines to restrict vandal access to residence walls, fences, sheds, garages, and other graffiti targets. Add or improve lighting around your property to promote natural surveillance. Ask your community to install lighting in neighborhood area that tare dark and often hit with graffiti. Consider a home security system and post signs that such a system is in operation. For condo and coop owners, work with residential property managers to incorporate graffiti prevention into building security.
- Work with neighbors and law enforcement. Organize a Neighborhood Watch (contact the Sheriff’s Office at 831-636-4080) to help law enforcement keep tabs on criminal activity in your neighborhood. Ask police to step up security in your neighborhood, especially if there are alleys, unlit areas, vacant properties, or other graffiti targets near your residence. Adopt-a-spot in your neighborhood and keep it graffiti free. Work with a Keep American Beautiful affiliate to coordinate a local graffiti awareness campaign. Dedicate a neighborhood association meeting to graffiti prevention and invite law enforcement.
Graffiti Ordinances may affect homeowners in the following ways:
- Local graffiti ordinances vary, and some communities do not have an ordinance that targets graffiti. Usually a graffiti ordinance dictates how quickly graffiti must be removed and who is responsible for removal. It may also outline specific penalties for convicted graffiti vandals.
- Some ordinances require homeowners to remove graffiti on their property. Others have the city or county remove graffiti, but charge the homeowner a fee. Communities may also have programs in place to remove graffiti on private property at no charge to the owner. For individuals who live in a coop or condo, cleanup would be the responsibility of the condo association. For apartment dwellers or other tenants, the owner of the building or property is responsible for cleanup.
- Graffiti removal by someone other than the homeowner usually requires permission from the owner/agent. Find out how graffiti removal on private property is handled in your community. Also learn who is responsible for graffiti cleanup of public areas in your neighborhood, such as sound barriers, utility boxes, bus shelters, sidewalks, and other graffiti targets. Get a copy of any local graffiti ordinance.
If a homeowner’s property is hit with graffiti:
- Report: Contact the police to report graffiti vandalism using a non-emergency number and contact the Graffiti Hot Line
- Identify: Work with local authorities to identify if graffiti is done by taggers or gangs and ask about safety concerns.
- Document: Take pictures of graffiti before it is removed. Photographs will assist law enforcement investigations.
- Remove: Remove graffiti promptly and completely. To ensure safety, work with law enforcement on removing and identified gang graffiti.
Methods to remove graffiti:
- To select the appropriate method for graffiti removal, consider the surface, costs, environmental impacts, and any local restrictions. Except for the paint out, homeowners may need to either consult with a graffiti removal service or contract with them for cleanup. A paint bank or other removal assistance may be available from the city or county. Removal methods include:
- Paint out: On painted surfaces, painting over graffiti is a low-cost removal method. Be sure to color match the paint to the surface. A patchwork of paint or a large block of different color paint is an ideal canvas and will invite more graffiti.
- Chemical removal: This method employs some type of solvent to remove graffiti. To ensure safety, consult a graffiti removal service or work with the city or county if this type of cleanup is required.
- Power washing: This removes graffiti by applying water, usually hot, under pressure. Power washing may be used after applying a pint solvent to the graffiti area. An abrasive, such as baking soda, may also be added to the water to remove a thin layer of surface, and with it, the graffiti. Consult a graffiti removal service or work with the city or county for this type of cleanup.
DO NOT REMOVE GRAFFITI FROM THE FOLLOWING PROPERTIES:
Call the Graffiti Hotline at (831) 638-4175 to remove graffiti from postal boxes, traffic control boxes, light poles, fire alarm boxes, bus shelters & benches, telephone booths, dumpsters, unpainted red brick, newspaper boxes, and meters; i.e., parking, gas or water.
If you choose to remove gang-related graffiti, be aware! Gang members may take offense to your actions. It is better to remove gang graffiti during early daylight hours with a partner. If you feel your safety is at risk, record and report the graffiti, but do not remove it yourself. Call the appropriate agency to have them remove or call the Graffiti Hotline at (831) 638-4175.
- Be aware of your surroundings
- Do not possess or use alcohol/drugs while working
- Obey warning signs, posted instruction, and placards regarding restricted areas
- Wear proper clothing, something you can get paint on
- Wear protective equipment when specified by graffiti remover product manufacturer
- Do not stand on unsafe equipment
- Please dispose of all hazardous materials in accordance with City and State guidelines
- When possible, go out with a friend. Remember: Safety in numbers!
Laws for Property Owners
California Vandalism Law Penal Code 594 PC (includes Graffiti)