The social norm around graffiti is that it’s a sign of criminal presence or activity in a city, while this is not always the case, lots of people still think it is. Most times, graffiti are signs that show the boon of national economies or a rise in the economy of a city, not the concept of it being a criminal signature. Along with other street arts, graffiti is doing its best in rebuilding rural areas, with the affluent of middle-class citizens to poorer communities. Graffiti has been used to remodel the outlook of streets in these cities, becoming a positive economic force for them and not signs of crime. In 2019, a graffiti hotspot in New York City was whitewashed, this spot had paintings by lots of different artists from different countries of the world.
The culture of allowing artists to paint street walls have been existing since the ’90s, though, artist Meres has done a great job of being a curator for these signs in Long Island City. But most building owners do not appreciate the cultural heritage of these paintings as they decide to tear down the structures for apartment buildings or other structures. A classic example is the famous 5Pointz, 5Pointz is a major graffiti hotspot representing a huge cultural value rather than just a public nuisance. But lots of social science have deterred the minds of people from accepting graffiti as anything other than signs of disorder and crimes in a place. Graffiti is accepted in some cities as appealing sights to foster the connection between with artists from the past that lived in that region.
In comparing graffiti to the rate of violent crimes committed in different cities, Synder took a survey in New York communities. The results showed a higher crime rate in areas with lesser graffiti concentration, but a lower rate in places with more paintings. His survey found out that graffiti provided a sort of urbanized cool that attracted tourists, retailers, and advertisers to these communities. Tourism is increased in graffiti-laden areas like 5Pointz, now Williamsburg, East London, people visit these cities to see first hand the cultural values. Scholars have some times questioned the criminal tags on graffiti, or tried to correlate their strong relationship with a city’s culture.
Graffiti shows a presence of creativity in a place, studies have shown that cities with lots of graffiti hotspots tend to have many artistic hubs. History shows that graffiti artists are kids from poor homes that venture into street painting to launch a career in arts. This is one of the importance of graffiti in society, it grants people with little or no resources to make it by showcasing their creative minds. Not every wall can be sprayed or painted though, most are restricted as ointing on them is a criminal offense, only legal walls are allowed to be painted. There’s no doubt that graffiti is associated with gang activities, but not all graffiti are, they can be reckoned as a force for good in our societies.