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DPW’s Graffiti Blitz Wipes Out Over 2,800 Acts of Property Defacement

Friday, July 1, 2016
Crews spent a week in each ward cleaning/painting graffiti and removing posters and stickers

(Washington, DC) – The DC Department of Public Works (DPW) completed its first-ever graffiti blitz last week, having cleaned more than 700 graffiti markings and removed more than 2,000 posters and stickers from public spaces in each of the District’s eight wards. The “Great Graffiti Wipe Out,” launched on May 16, was a six-week campaign created to bring city officials and the community together to eradicate graffiti and cut down on illegal taggers in every ward of the city.

Great Graffiti Wipeout launched DPW’s first annual graffiti cleaning blitz to focus needed attention and resources on every ward in the District.” said DPW Director Christopher J. Shorter. “I am proud to say we removed nearly 3,000 illegal markings and posters in six weeks by partnering together with businesses, community groups and volunteers. Graffiti drawn on someone’s property without their consent is considered vandalism and that is a crime.”

                   Breakdown of Graffiti Cleaning During “Great Graffiti Wipe Out”


Instances of Graffiti Cleaned

# of Posters/Stickers Removed

























DPW kicked off the campaign with a press conference held in Ward 1 near the intersection of 7th and U streets, an area that is frequently hit with graffiti and illegal posters, and the city receives more requests for graffiti abatement in Ward 1 than in any other ward. During the campaign, the agency’s graffiti abatement team spent one week in each ward cleaning graffiti and removing illegal posters from highly visible areas and also responding to abatement service requests.

“Fewer than a dozen personnel are responsible for responding to the thousands of graffiti requests we receive each year to clean graffiti,” Shorter continued. “I want to recognize their hard work and also continue to encourage residents and business owners to do their part—clean graffiti from your property immediately and report illegal tagging when you see it. Let’s work together as a community to keep the District graffiti free.”

Ward 4 councilmember Brandon Todd, who recently introduced legislation to increase the penalty for those convicted of graffiti, and Ward 1 Councilmember Brianne Nadeau also participated in the event. They were joined by representatives from the Metropolitan Police Department, DC General Services and volunteers from ServeDC.

Also participating was American Public Works Association Executive Director Scott Grayson, who helped DPW kick off National Public Works Week.

“It was wonderful to kick off of APWA’s National Public Works Week with the DC Department Director Chris Shorter and many of the DC Public Works staff, who make a significant impact on the capital City of Washington, D.C. and importantly on their community, citizens and environment, as this Graffiti Wipeout has shown,” said APWA Executive Director, Scott Grayson.

The Department of Public Works responds to more than 40,000 requests to remove graffiti and posters each year. Last year, the District spent more than a quarter of a million dollars fighting graffiti and responded to more than 6,000 requests to remove graffiti.