Graffiti and Vandalism

Controlling graffiti and vandalism

Graffiti Removal and Prevention

Controlling graffiti at and near your businesses requires taking prompt, proactive steps to report and remove it right away. This is proven to be the best way to prevent graffiti from occurring again. Steps to removing graffiti on private and public property differ in some ways. Steps for both are listed here.

Report Graffiti

As soon as it appears, call the City’s Graffiti Report Line at 206-684-7587 or use the online report form to report graffiti on public property, or on private property that has persisted for a period of time. Make a police report to 206- 625-5011 when graffiti appears on your property. If you see an act of graffiti vandalism in progress, call 911 immediately.

Click here to see how one vandal was caught on camera by a local business!

Remove Graffiti Quickly

After the police document the vandalism, remove or paint over the graffiti immediately if on private property.
The City of Seattle offers free paint. Call (206) 386-4093 for more information. If you’re not able or prefer to have a professional clean off graffiti or etching, several companies including Graffiti Busters, a SODO-based company at 206-623-0985, can help.

Take It Seriously

Property with graffiti that is not removed in a reasonable amount of time may be subject to fines under the Graffiti Nuisance Ordinance.

Make Your Property Graffiti Resistant

Call the Seattle Police Department’s Crime Prevention Unit at (206) 684-7555 for a free assessment of ways you can prevent graffiti on your property. Quick fixes that are known to work include:

  • Installing improved lighting and motion sensitive lighting.
  • Growing vines or appropriate vegetation to cover unpainted retaining walls.
  • Installing a graffiti resistant coating on your walls.
  • Keeping matching paint on hand to quickly paint out graffiti.

Graffiti on Public Property

Seattle Public Utility (SPU) Graffiti Rangers will removal graffiti from City property. Call the Graffiti Report Line at (206) 684-7587 to alert the Rangers with a detailed description of where the graffiti is. The city strives to meet the 10-day timetable for removing graffiti from its property.

To get graffiti removed from Metro Transit bus shelters and signs, call 206-625-1800.

Some Graffiti is Difficult to Remove

If you are having problems, here are more resources:

  • If ink or paint is out of reach, you can contact a professional painter or contractor, especially if your property has unique characteristics.
  • Consider using a pressure washer.
  • A recent development in graffiti vandalism is acid etching on glass. Unfortunately, this type of vandalism results in permanent marking and the glass often must be completely replaced. A short-term solution is to conceal it with a protective or decorative covering. Contact a professional glass company for removal and replacement recommendations.


Along with graffiti, arson and other forms of defacement, vandalism is one or more crimes against the community — whether it is a business or residential district.

Being an active part in the Belltown Business Association is a proven way to gather community support and action for preventing crimes of defacement. Many of the same strategies used to stop graffiti, work with vandalism as well:

  • Repair vandalism immediately.
  • Keep the neighborhood clean.
  • Make sure a sign is visibly displayed at each business.
  • Develop a watch system with nearby businesses.
  • Report vandalism to the police by calling 9-1-1- or 206-625-5011.