Monday, April 18, 2011

Saying Goodbye to Graffiti

Feeling protective of our neighborhood, my husband and I can't stand it when we encounter graffiti. Unfortunately, this is an occurrence that is all too common when living in El Cajon. Although there are many targets, there was one poor house on the western side of Mollison Avenue, close to Park Street, that seemed like it was always being singled out by taggers since it has a long expanse of street-side fencing. Every week, I'd spot new graffiti that would get cleaned up only to have more new graffiti pop up once again. The most memorable was when I drove by to find a giant penis spray painted along the expanse. Perhaps that was the last straw, because it seemed like soon afterward, the once tempting blank canvas was reclaimed as an official canvas with a purpose. See the picture below for the multi-panel mural featuring various historical scenes of El Cajon that now adorns the fencing.

What used to be an eyesore is now a great tribute to El Cajon!
One block down toward Broadway, on the same side of Mollison Avenue, you may or may not notice another mural that was added at the same time. This mural camouflages the fence so well that it appears to be just part of a natural landscape.

Do you notice the fence? Luckily, taggers don't seem to anymore.
On the eastern side of Mollison, take a peek at the expansive mural that was created for the El Cajon Valley High School campus. Once another favorite spot for taggers, this wall now stands as an exhibit of school spirit. Go Braves!

If you watched this mural unfold through "drafts," you'll agree it is a relief that it ended up as it did!
So, have these murals made a difference? From an outside perspective, they seem to be working. I've only personally noticed graffiti on them once. If there have been many more occurrences, then the maintainers are doing a great job of removing the graffiti right away. On a practical level, they've taken away the whole "blank canvas" aspect of these spaces. I like to think that the artwork holds even more power, though, by inspiring a sense of community pride.

To any fellow El Cajon residents, if you happen to be a victim of graffiti, please take action quickly! The best way to combat this vandalism is by swiftly removing it. Luckily, the city of El Cajon seems to be very receptive to helping residents tackle this problem. They have a Graffiti Abatement Program with a hotline that you can call to report incidences and to even get help with free removal. In addition, if you have any tips on the perpetrators, you can anonymously submit tips through Crime Stoppers.

Here's to keeping our streets clean and safe!


  1. i need to check those murals out!! Jillian Hanson-Cox the councilwoman worked very hard to get the Graffiti Tracker going in your fine city. It's a great thing to stop this visual nuisance (and criminal offense)!!

  2. Thanks for the name! I'll have to send her an email :)

  3. How about TAGRS which is being used by LAPD and LASD and OCSD. Its a network database and it is FREE.

  4. TAGRS sounds like a great idea. It reminds me of a news story I heard about an app to report stray shopping carts, which is another public nuisance I hope to write about soon.

  5. The house on Mollison and Park,was a house I lived in from 1984 to 1988.It is a beautifull house inside,and after I moved and would drive by,my heart would sink with all the graffi on the fence,it's funny because we did not have that problem when we were there,but thru the years it was an eye sore to the public,what a wonderfull display for El Cajon and drivers, driving by to see!