As I look at my community, I am beginning to notice lots of graffiti. That makes me feel like our community isn’t being treated with care. According to RiversideCA.gov, "Small towns spend more than $1.3 million dollars annually on graffiti problems." If graffiti wasn’t being done, our tax money could be spent on more constructive materials.

For people who don’t know what graffiti is, according to Dictionary.com, it is "Markings, as initials, slogans, or sketched on a sidewalk, wall of a building, or public restroom." That is where graffiti is being done and the types of graffiti there is. Next, according to Cambridge Dictionaries online, graffiti also includes "Writings or drawings made on surfaces in public places." For example, one place you might be more likely see graffiti is a city bus station. Lastly, according to Merriam webster, "Graffiti can be pictures or words painted or drawn on a wall, building, etc." Another place you might see graffiti is in alleyways or public lavatories.

The money spent on repairing and repainting over graffiti is intense. According to Intervention Central, "Graffiti and vandalism can cost a school a great deal of money in repairs." That means they spend so much money on repairs, that schools could not get some of the school supplies that they needed. Also according to State Graffiti Task Force, "Amounts of up to $30 million per year have been used as the estimated cost to clean up graffiti." That means the amount of money spent on graffiti is so high it affects the schools money for buses, field trips, and school supplies.

I have always wondered, "Why do people do graffiti?" Well here are some facts showing why people do graffiti. According to Department Of Members, "Gang graffiti is a means of non-verbal communication used to advertise the gang, mark it’s territory, threaten violence, honor dead members of the gang, and advertise for recruits. It is also used to communicate messages, and show disrespect or aggravate rival gangs. Gang members will cross out, reverse, crack, or turn the other gangs markings upside down for disrespect to other rivals." That means that people don’t just do graffiti for art, but to communicate and show disrespect. Now, according to Metro Gang Unit, "Even taggers and street gangs both use graffiti as an illegal form of communication, but their intent is different. Taggers see graffiti as an art form, a game, and a friendly contest. Street gangs though, use graffiti to mark areas. They frequently issue threats to their enemies." That means that they know that they are illegally doing graffiti and they must not care for their surroundings.

If you say graffiti is a beautiful form of art, I would not agree. I think it leads to unrespected areas. I think graffiti is a crime because, whoever the victim was of the graffiti would have to use their own money on cleaning it up. Next, if you think graffiti is an art, well yes, it can be an art, but the people who don’t like it spend a great deal of money trying to clean it up. Lastly, if you think graffiti is an expressed art form, I would disagree and say it isn’t and that it destroys public places that other people enjoy.

Now here are some solutions I have thought of to prevent graffiti. The first problem is the amount of money being spent on graffiti. My solution to that is to have juvenile delinquents or people who are in jail for a crime that has to do with graffiti, help clean up the graffiti. I think another problem is, the places that graffiti is being done. My solution to that is you can do graffiti but only in your own territory. Lastly, a problem I think is important is that it can be negative to some religions and to some people. My solution to that is don’t write negative things on walls, vehicles, or other things. The last thing you can really help me on is if you see anyone doing graffiti try stopping them yourself or call the cops. Thank you.

James Dougan is a member of Julie Rosenberg’s sixth-grade class at Academy School in Brattleboro. This is the fourth in a series of letters submitted as part of a project organized by Rosenberg. Other letters will be printed as space allows.