City steps up efforts to crack down on graffiti

Clean City Coordinators Angela Brenny and Michelle Howard demonstrate graffiti removal on many types of surfaces at a meeting Wednesday afternoon. Credit: Photo by Cassie Jones

The City of Minneapolis is increasing its efforts to encourage residents to clean up graffiti this month.

Solid Waste and Recycling Director David Herberholz said the city has partnered with the police and fire departments, city communications and contractors to raise awareness about graffiti.

City communications has put together a video in English, Spanish, Somali and Hmong and a public service announcement on Comcast to inform the community. Digital billboards donated by Clear Channel Outdoor will also be displayed around the city.

According to Minneapolis Solid Waste and Recycling statistics, there were 8,180 cases of graffiti and it cost the city just over $1 million to remove the tags in 2013. Police Insp. Kathy Waite of the 2nd Precinct said it contributes to the impression that the area is not safe or not cared for and often attracts more graffiti.

“It’s really important to get out there and clean it up as quickly as you can because when people see graffiti in an area it’s really damaging not only to the property but also just the property values and also to the area businesses,” Waite said.

To report graffiti, residents can go online (, call 311, use the 311 app or email 311. To report an act of vandalism, call 911.

If graffiti is on your property, you will receive a notice in the mail and you are responsible for cleaning it up within seven days. If the graffiti is not taken care of after seven days, the city will remove or paint over it and you will be billed for the cleanup cost.

The environmentally friendly graffiti removal solvent is made of sea kelp and is available for free at all Minneapolis fire stations ( Paint is also available for free at the Hennepin County Free Product Centers (

To deter graffiti vandals, the city encourages residents to modify the environment with planting clinging vegetation, creating murals or mosaics, adding lattices or board gaps to fences and defining the boundaries between private and public areas.

For complete instructions and more information on graffiti removal visit