Re: Graffiti vandal in Tavira

Dear Editor,
Regarding Natasha Donn’s article on graffiti… Stopping youngsters spray paint on walls has been found to be easy to do. In the USA, a particular small town has successfully eradicated graffiti completely.
It all comes down to understanding the reasoning, or psychology, of the young people who practice spray painting. This is in a word: “recognition” or even “adoration” by their peers.
They need to be recognised and appreciated by all their friends for being daring and or artistic. The most prominent a position or most risky a property to spray, the more daring it becomes. Once the building has been sprayed they ask all their friends: “have you seen my work on such and such building? Great, isn’t it?” Gratification requested and once it has been seen by all his mates, gratification received.
Adoration is even better. Normally this sequence has a timetable. The spraying is done overnight when it cannot be observed. Then the next day he informs his friend of his work. They then look it over and report back their wonderment of his courage and daring and of the quality of his work. It is now time for swelling chests, high fives and pronouncements of even more daring acts to follow.
The simple method to stop this happening is to interrupt the sequence of events. Remove the evidence of his work before it can be seen by his mates.
In other words, paint over it the day you discover it, not the day after or some other time but immediately, thereby cutting the chain of events.
When his friends report back that they could not find his work, he will be upset and return that night to see for himself. He will then repeat the spraying. You paint it out, and the sequence begins all over again … he sprays on, you paint out. This will continue until he works out that this is not good for his reputation amongst his pals and he gives up and moves on.
It will all come down to your tenacity to continue painting out. You will win in the end. He can only be embarrassed amongst his friend for a short time otherwise he will lose his credibility and his adulation will cease. That will not be allowed to happen. He will move on.
So you have it … tenacity – that’s all it takes, believe me. It has been done and it works.
Sadly Natasha’s article has given the paint sprayer such notoriety, it will push his street cred into the stratosphere – Recognition and Adoration now unrivalled amongst his paint spraying peers.
Henry Warder
By email