King County Councilmember proposes graffiti removal initiative

On Monday, King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn introduced legislation that would create a graffiti removal initiative aimed at improving the cleanliness and safety of communities.

"Graffiti is a highly-visible crime that sends a signal that neighborhoods are not being cared for or looked after," Dunn said. "With the dramatic rise in crime that we are seeing in King County, this is the wrong message to send. As the presence of graffiti increases in our communities, we need to take steps to remove and prevent it, and, in turn, keep our neighborhoods clean and safe."

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According to the U.S. Department of Justice, violent gangs often use graffiti to organize and intimidate. Graffiti can also contribute to a loss in revenue due to decreases in ridership on public transit, reduced retail sales and downturns in property values. 

If passed, Dunn's legislation would create a comprehensive graffiti clean-up program with the Department of Local Services and the Sheriff’s Office. This would include a way for people to report graffiti for county cleanup or access graffiti removal kits to use on their own. It would create deployable graffiti removal services, which Dunn says could possibly employ people experiencing homelessness, to respond to reports of graffiti. 

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The legislation also requests plans for public art development like murals for reporting possible gang activity. The plans for this initiative would be due back to the King County Council by March 31, 2023.

This legislation will be heard in the Local Services and Land Use Committee in the coming weeks.