The city of London, England has a huge graffiti problem. Strangely enough, there is a graffiti problem in Reykjavik, Iceland. For some reason, we didn't think they would have a problem with graffiti there. Much of Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary have graffiti problems.
It's a huge problem in Mexican cities. When we visited Guadalajara a few years ago I was so turned off by the graffiti everywhere that I didn't enjoy our visit to the city. I don't make it a habit to take pictures of graffiti, but I do have this one from our recent visit to Zacatecas.
This wall is covered with unsightly graffiti.
Our friend's house in Zacatecas has one wall directly on the sidewalk of a side street. She has painted that wall four times and has finally just given up because the little ingrates who do this type of vandalism just see it as a blank canvas every time she paints it.
Our home city of Ottawa, Canada has a growing graffiti problem despite the fact that they have instituted a "Graffiti Management Program" a few years back. Their plan involved "education" and "empowerment". But unfortunately these things don't seem to work.
But let's get back to Pittsburgh.
The actual lack of graffiti was what we noticed! It turns out that in 2005 a former Mayor, Bob O'Connor, had started a clean up campaign that the people took seriously. Citizens were simply tired of the graffiti and vandalism and litter. Around the same time, the Clean Pittsburgh Commission was begun.
They take graffiti seriously in Pittsburgh! They treat it like the crime that it is! That's how they got rid of it!
Look at what they do...
If you see a person committing the crime, you call 911. If you even SEE graffiti on your own personal property, you call 911. If you see it on someone else's property, you call 311. Then, it gets transferred to the city's Graffiti Busters office. Then, the Graffiti Task Force will be notified immediately and Department of Public Works will respond and take photos of the graffiti and remove it. Just like that!
And, if they catch the little bastards in the act, they are arrested and charged with vandalism. If they are under 18 years old, the parents are fined, and charged the clean up costs!
And so, Pittsburgh is proof that graffiti can be eradicated if the people are actually serious about getting that job done. It comes at the expense of a lot of effort and money, but the city of Pittsburgh is a much, much more beautiful place as a result.