December 11, 2019 The Corporate Social Responsibility Newswire

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Three Cities Take Top Honors in Keep America Beautiful's Graffiti Prevention Competition

Submitted by: Keep America Beautiful

Categories: Community Development

Posted: Nov 30, 2005 – 11:00 PM EST


Nov. 30 /CSRwire/ - Stamford, Conn. - Keep America Beautiful, Inc. is pleased to announce the winners of the second annual Graffiti Hurts® National Award competition. Innovative and results-focused graffiti prevention programs in three cities took top honors:

  • Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful, Lawrenceville, Ga. (Communities greater than 100,000 population);
  • City of Riverbank, Riverbank, Calif. (Communities less than 100,000 population); and
  • Just 4 Kids, Key West, Fla. (Paint brush mural).

    "The costly blight of graffiti affects communities of all sizes, all across the nation," said G. Raymond Empson, president of Keep America Beautiful. "The Graffiti Hurts® National Awards honor the best graffiti prevention programs of the year while highlighting our organization's efforts to provide tools and resources for graffiti prevention, removal and education."

    Graffiti Hurts® was developed in 1997 through a partnership between Keep America Beautiful, the nation's largest nonprofit education and community improvement organization, and The Sherwin-Williams Company (NYSE: SHW), maker of Krylon paint. Graffiti Hurts® provides community resources and promotes best practices for graffiti prevention.

    Entrants in the competition represented the best of local governments, police departments, nonprofit volunteer organizations, and other groups dedicated to eradicating graffiti vandalism. Winning programs receive a cash award, a plaque, and local and national recognition.

    Award winners were selected by an independent panel of judges, which included Rosemary DeMenno, the National Crime Prevention Council; Faith Wiedler, National Council to Prevent Delinquency; Sgt. Dwight Waldo, San Bernardino Police Department; Donna Curtis, Shreveport Green; and Michelle Neuhauser, The Sherwin-Williams Company.

    "Sherwin-Williams is committed to supporting effective approaches to community improvement challenges, such as the proliferation of graffiti vandalism," said Christopher M. Connor, president and CEO of The Sherwin-Williams Company. "Our company is pleased that Graffiti Hurts® is serving as a catalyst in communities seeking new solutions to this national problem and we are proud to recognize their significant achievements."

    About Keep America Beautiful, Inc. and Graffiti Hurts® Keep America Beautiful, Inc., established in 1953, is the nation's largest volunteer-based community action and education organization. With a network of nearly 1,000 affiliate and participating organizations, Keep America Beautiful forms public-private partnerships and programs that engage individuals to take greater responsibility for improving their community environments. For additional information, visit For more information about Graffiti Hurts® and its resources to help communities prevent graffiti, visit or contact

    About the 2005 Graffiti Hurts® Award Winners

    Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful, Lawrenceville, Ga.
    Contact: Connie Wiggins - 770-822-5187;

    To address an 81 percent increase in the number of graffiti tags in 2000, Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful, Lawrenceville, Ga., located just outside of Atlanta, launched a comprehensive graffiti prevention program. Since then, the community has witnessed a consistent decrease in graffiti each year, with an 18 percent decrease in square feet tagged in 2005. That same year, volunteers and inmate labor removed graffiti from 971 sites.

    Two innovations make this model program a stand out. An annual survey of graffiti tags, now in its third year, allows Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful to measure program results. And, in coordination with the Gwinnett GIS Department, it has developed a graffiti tracking and mapping program to identify where graffiti is occurring and how frequently.

    The program also has a strong education component. Through media coverage using a PSA, and the distribution of over 215,000 graffiti education fliers, including a water bill insert, it has taken the graffiti prevention message to about 700,000 residents.

    City of Riverbank, Riverbank, Calif.
    Contact: Richard Holmer - 209-863-7122;

    Education and innovation are the keys to Riverbank's winning program. After traditional graffiti prevention tactics didn't prove successful, Riverbank, located in California's central valley, formed a task force, hired a code enforcement officer, and got to work on a comprehensive community effort. The result was a drop in vandalism costs to the city from $50,000 to $2,500 in just 12 months.

    The "Victory over Vandalism" program included the creation of "Victor, the Anti-Vandalism Dog" and a host of new initiatives. Groups and individuals adopted walls, a call line and reward program were established, youth completed a mural on a water tank, while other community members participated in a "paint-by-numbers" mural on a chronically tagged wall. An education program to all third- and fifth graders was also established, with youth asked to take a "Victory Over Vandalism" pledge. And, an anti-graffiti poster contest for K-8 graders received over 600 entries with the winning poster printed on a Community Awareness T-shirt.

    Just 4 Kids, Key West, Fla.
    Contact: Paula Ciavolino - 305-923-8993;

    Founded with one leader and no budget, the year-old Just 4 Kids "Art Against Graffiti" program has become a lightning rod for graffiti prevention and beautification in Key West, Fla. The program engages children ages 3-17 from shelters, after school programs, and art classes to participate in a mural program--and fight graffiti vandalism.

    Children learned about graffiti, what it was, and its effect on their community. Then they set to work on their own original sketches, and as a group hand painted their designs on 24 utility boxes that had become ravaged with graffiti.

    Paint and supplies were donated, as were transportation buses, and drinks and snacks for the kids. The City's Mayor also visited several of the sites during painting. The result: Just 4 Kids has been invited to continue this effort on storage buildings, fire hydrants, and construction walls that have been vandalized with graffiti.

  • For more information, please contact:

    Robert Wallace Keep America Beautiful
    Phone: (203) 323-8987x811
    Larry Kaufman Keep America Beautiful
    Phone: (203) 323-8987x817

    For more from this organization:

    Keep America Beautiful


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