Category Archives: criminalization

City of Champaign Municipal Code

Minimum fine for all subsections regarding graffiti: $185

The City Council finds and determines that the increase of graffiti on both public and private buildings, structures, and in other places, creates a condition of blight within the City which can result in the deterioration of property values, business opportunities, and enjoyment of life for persons using adjacent and surrounding properties. The Council further finds and determines that graffiti is inconsistent with the City’s property maintenance goals, crime prevention programs and aesthetic standards, and, unless graffiti is quickly removed from public and private properties, other properties soon become the targets of graffiti. Source.

The City Council hereby declares that graffiti is a public nuisance and is subject to punishment and abatement as prescribed in this Code.

It is unlawful for any person to deface public or private property with graffiti.

It is unlawful for any person to assist, aid, abet, allow, permit, or encourage another to violate the provisions of this article, by words, overt act, failure to act, or by lack of supervision and control over minors.

During the time when any public facility is closed, no person shall have in his or her possession any graffiti materials while in or upon such public facility.

In addition to any other penalties and as restitution for a violation of any section of this article, a violator shall pay for the costs of repairing any damages to property caused by that violator’s unlawful conduct. When the violator is a person under eighteen (18) years of age, any parent, guardian, or other person having legal custody of the violator shall be responsible to pay for damages caused by the violator or abatement of the nuisance which is the result of the violator’s act. Source.

The owner shall replace rotting or missing fence panels or walls and all graffiti shall be removed. Such maintenance shall be conducted within one month of the occurrence causing the repair.

In the event the owner fails to install or maintain a required landscaped or screening area, the City shall notify the owner of action necessary to meet the requirements of this article and a date when such action should be completed. If the owner has not complied by said date, the City shall have the right to go onto said property and maintain said buffer. The cost for such maintenance or installation shall be at the owners expense. If the owner fails to pay, the City Attorney collect costs plus attorney fees to pursue action against the owner. Source.


No person shall willfully or wantonly damage, mutilate or deface any exterior surface of any structure or building on any private or public property by placing thereon any marking, carving or graffiti.

It shall be the responsibility of the owner to restore said surface to an approved state of maintenance and repair.



Graffiti Wall

Graffiti Wall

A powerful Chicago alderman is stepping up his campaign to use public art to combat crime and graffiti — by turning a two-mile wall beneath the railroad tracks that bisect his ward into a giant canvas.

Graffiti Removal



Completed Graffiti Removal Requests

    • 2008: 172,197
    • 2009: 172,989
    • 2010: 161,336
    • 2011: 137,459
    • 2012*: 64,000

*Through July 30

Source: Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation

Budget Cuts and effects on people.

  • City Hall’s budget cuts have hit the graffiti-removal program, eliminating nearly a third of the workers who scoured Chicago to clean public and private property spray painted by gang-bangers and taggers marking their turf.
  • And business owners have taken notice.
  • “It’s absolutely horrible,” says Arnie Wulfstat, who’s been waiting nearly two weeks for the city to remove the graffiti someone painted on the side of his building at 1259 N. Milwaukee.
  • “I’ve called the city,” he says. “They used to come out within a week. Instead of cutting back, they should add to it.”
  • The “graffiti blasters” program — one of Daley’s pet projects to beautify Chicago by providing free graffiti removal to homeowners and businesses — has been cut 25 percent this year, down to $4.1 million. It has 49 employees, 23 fewer than last year.

Video of Graffiti Removal


Interview with Graffiti Artist

Oak Street Beach – Chicago, IL


“When you tag do you tag so everyone can see it or do you just do it where you won’t get caught?”

Date: So EVERYONE sees my work. Right on the street sometimes.

“How do police go about stopping you? And if you had a legal place to do it would you strictly do it there?”

Date: Sometimes they start individual investigations. They investigated me from one of my pieces in my neighborhood from seeing it on camera.

They had pic of my face and my graffiti and were going into stores asking if I came in often. My barber told me. No I have a couple of legal walls I can go to but it’s different from illegal graffiti. It feels different”

“Are you mainly doing it for the fame or the rush?”

Date: Little bit of both.


“What’s your typical day like when you go tag? What time do you go?”

Date: I usually just go out and do my normal night. I just bring paint then once I leave a party for the night I’ll paint on my way home.

“Any specific time period to avoid people seeing you?”

Date: Usually Sunday-Thursday anywhere from 12-5am or 6am sometimes. Sometimes I’ll be painting while the sun comes up.