Vandalism: Graffiti and Mural Contest Essay

Who Vandalizes and Why? Some vandals work in groups. You may even know some of the teens doing the damage — there’s no one “type” of teen who vandalizes. He or she might be the smartest kid in school, or the kid who’s always in trouble. Most vandals are young people — from grade schoolers to teens to young adults — who vandalize out of •boredom •anger •revenge •defiance •association with friends. Take Action •Take pride in your surroundings. Vandalism cheapens your area and you. Learn about the costs and effects of vandalism by working with law enforcement, school officials, and community leaders. Teach what you learn to other teenagers and younger children. •Start a clean-up crew at your school or in your neighborhood. Ask local businesses to donate supplies like paint and paintbrushes for covering graffiti, or tools and equipment for repairing vandalized property. Volunteer to help businesses and homeowners repair their property as soon as it is vandalized and paint over graffiti. Write articles for your school or community newspaper on the costs of vandalism and graffiti, their impact on school and other budgets for activities, and how the courts — juvenile and adult — treat vandals. •Look for ways to use the talent and creativity of vandals in positive, nondestructive activities. Sponsor a mural contest at your school or a youth center. Encourage art supply stores and area businesses to provide large canvases and materials for kids to create murals inspired by themes like saying no to drugs, the importance of education, or celebrating diversity in your community.

Ask local artists to attend and provide instruction and advice or judge a mural contest. •Start a vandalism hotline in cooperation with law enforcement and school officials that lets callers anonymously report incidents of vandalism and gives tips about vandals. •Work with your faith community to adopt a street or a park with your school, youth, or community group. Plant trees, bushes, and flowers. Repair equipment and install trash containers. Organize a monthly outing to clean up garbage and keep an eye on things.

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