Can We Really Win The Fight To Stop Graffiti Vandalism?
|We get this question is asked all the time... The short answer is Yes,
Yes if you will truly put in what it takes to do the job, but if looking for a quick fix, and not ready to install the resources, it is a waste of time, energy and money.
The only viable way to stop graffiti is to catch them in the act, and prosecute them in Court
Question: What do we need to do?
Answer: First, download the information from our homepage called just Just Starting Out, if you did just those items, you would be headed down the right path to stopping this problem in your communities. But you can go further, those are just the minimum items needed.
Next, do your homework on technology that is easily available. We read all the time in news stories about how a city or agency has done their homework and bought a certain type of graffiti camera that will help catch the vandals, but does it really do that? One such story recently mentioned that the camera that they settled on would give a verbal warning to the vandal and also take their photo. This was the camera that is going to help catch the vandals? How is that? All that camera does is startle a vandal and scare him from that location. Does it stop him from then going to another location to do the vandalism? No it doesn't. A different camera system that cost 1/2 of this one, covertly monitors the same area, but instead of a voice telling the vandal to leave, it secretly takes a photo and sends that to an on-duty Police Officer's Blackberry Cell Phone. The Officer now knows that a vandalism is occurring, knows the exact location, has a description as well as an actual photo, and is responding to the location where the vandal is unaware of anything happening.
So what works better? Lets think about it.. Scare a kid to a different location?, or, actually catch him in the act and thus able to prosecute? (and for 1/2 the cost)
Do your research, Nograf can provide you with contacts to all of the Camera companies, as well as the different database companies. Now, since we mentioned database, let's discuss it a bit further...
1. A database is a simple computer that is just a bunch of computer code and does not do a single thing to stop or reduce graffiti. WHAT? That is correct, if you buy into one of the databases that is available, and think that is all you need to do to help stop your graffiti problem, save your money! A database program is only as good as the staff using it. If you have a database, and all you do is input data, yet never look into it to determine if vandals have been identified in other cities, again, a good step, but a waste of a good resource. Now if you get a database, and then have a dedicated staff to work as a go between for law enforcement and prosecutors, now you have a workable system that will greatly increase your chances of reducing your graffiti problem in yours, as well as possibly other jurisdictions.
What database works best?
Each have their own unique qualities, we have our own opinion here at Nograf, but will send you contact info on all the systems. You have to be careful when getting information from them, remember, they are trying to sell their product so each will tell you that all the others are useless, and theirs is the only one that will work.
Nograf likes to tell people to look at the cost, get a price from each before making a determination. It is a well know fact that some companies will bid low to get your business, then after a year or two when that have a lot of your data, increase the price substantially. You also need to understand just what is being provided. One company that we know of charges an incredibly high price (tens of thousands), yet they will provide a set number of cameras as well as a service to read the graffiti for you. Another company we deal with, only charges $850 a year, plus the first year is free, tracks and maps over 30 different crimes, has a citizen report module in it that allows your citizens to also be involved. You use your own cameras as well as write in the graffiti moniker yourself. They will also do an input service for you if you want for an additional cost. Clearly the cheapest way to go for a database, but there are others. Another one charges you for a server that is installed in your office and they provide a maintenance contract and each server is independent.
So do the research and fully understand what each one is offering, for what cost, and what is the possibility of an increase after the first year or two.
If you want to know what we suggest, send us a message and we'll be happy to tell you what we think is the best service, or the pros and cons that we have found in each. Nograf has extensive experience in graffiti cameras as well as graffiti databases and is happy to share the information with you if contact us.
The Nograf Network Inc.