Other Names:
Defacement of urban structures
Unhelpful vandalism image
Spray paint vandalism

The popular use of aerosol paint (among other tools of vandalism) as a means of defacing public property and leaving a vandal's "signature" is viewed by many as disrespectful, damaging to the public psyche, unsightly and worthy of criminal charges. Cleaning graffiti covered surfaces in public places gives the public a feeling of security and that the authorities are in control. Erasing aerosol paint, however, is costly and robs the public of funds needed in other areas of civic life. Some have proposed the allotment of particular surfaces, in train stations for instance, for the availability of graffiti artists and their work. Graffiti artists, though, often suggest half the enjoyment of creating graffiti is its clandestine nature.


The vandalism of numerous art reproductions in the Paris metro system one night in 1991 caused 500,000 francs ($80,000) worth of damage. According to a 1994 report, the RATP transportation authority spends approximately 140 million French francs ($24 million) per year in vain attempt to keep stations and trains free of graffiti. A 1991 report shows 85% of passengers eager to see graffiti "artists" charged criminal fines. The 1994 penalty for graffiti vandalism in France rose to a maximum of 500,000 francs and five years in prison from the 1993 fine of 30,000 francs and 2 years in prison.

Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
Problem Type:
D: Detailed problems
Date of last update
04.10.2020 – 22:48 CEST