Research Project (essay) Example

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Literature Review………………………………………………………………….3


Analysis and Discussion…………………………………………………………..5


Reference List……………………………………………………………………..8


. In Sydney, graffiti has been defined as ‘out of place’ and there have been a dispute about the appropriate use of space between the older generation and young people. (Halsey and Young, 2002). Graffiti is common place in urban areas in Sydney and to young people is seen as part of the urban landscape and some even see it as art. The concept of graffiti being out of place is dependent on the values of individuals who are experiencing it (White, 2001)For older generations see graffiti as out of place, as vandalism and dirt

Ministry of Youth Development (MYD) about appropriate use of ‘space’. The report is divided into three sections. The first section will entail literature review where existing research will be discussed how graffiti is regarded as “out of place”. The second section will entail methodology; in this section newspaper articles on the issues were analyzed as well as online sources. Finally, the research findings will be analyzed and the report will conclude by providing appropriate recommendations on the issues. In this regard, a research was commissioned by

Literature Review

Cresswell (1996) has described how graffiti is seen by older generation as a rash, disease on the environment and a symptom of urban disorder or decay. It is common to see graffiti in run-down-urban areas ruined by crime as opposed to ordered and safe urban areas. Others have gone as far as describing graffiti writers as illiterate, insane human beings connecting them to asylum seekers who are encouraged to write on cell walls in order to express their frustrations (Cresswell, 1996). Grafffiti has always been seen as out of place, it is illegal and much of it is done in hidden places or at night.

The broken windows thesis (White, 2001), illustrated that various activities such as graffiti encouraged further criminal activities and the crime and disorder is usually linked- one broken window in a house that is not fixed for a long time is a sign that nobody cares and further acts of vandalism will follow. This type of thinking about criminal activities have been criticized for a long time as it is argued that it is wrong to assume an automatic escalation in criminal activities because of graffiti (Ferrell, 2005).. (Wilson and Kelling, 2006)There appears to be a major problem between literatures which approaches the issue of graffiti from youth culture-which view graffiti as a youth phenomenon reflecting wider issues of subversion, power and containment- perspective and that literature which approaches the problem from a crime-which view graffiti as a socially threatening- prevention perspective

Cornish and Clarke (2007) have described graffiti as both art and crime. This is an issue of great significance to local government, local communities, public transport agencies, police and young people themselves (Cresswell, 1996). Persons within these groups can be affected many ways by graffiti: of people find graffiti activities as attractive, while others seen graffiti and related activities as an index of youth criminality and social decline (Ferrell, 2005). Over the years, public transport authorities and Local government agencies make significant financial outlays in graffiti removal schemes and graffiti prevention initiatives (White, 2001).

Doran and Lees (2005) stated that sometimes graffiti is discussed in the same category as vandalism. A strongly held argument among authorities is that graffiti always involves damage to private and public venues. However, it has not been established that graffiti writers engaging in graffiti carry out other types of vandalism. Nor can it be said people engaging in vandalism always engage in graffiti (Cresswell, 1996)


The question of conducting mixed and qualitative methods research on criminological topics has been raised in many studies. In the context of studying graffiti there are many reasons in choosing a mixed methods approach that includes qualitative methods. This approach will allow some insight into the ‘dark figure of crime’. Using both qualitative and quantitative methods and combining different ways of collecting data will offer the opportunity for a more complete understanding of extent and nature of graffiti (Noakes and Wincup, 2004).

There were multiple things I looked at, including referenced and sources quoted, but the main focus of the analysis was the topics discussed in graffiti and overall interestingness. Each media article on graffiti was classified and ranked for interestingness within one or more of the following 3 categories: 1) violence/fear; 2) dirty looking/dirty; 3) Crime; 4) vandalism; and 5) politics . In general, the media articles were ranked.

  • 1: there are one or more words written, but there’s not much more you can say for it.

  • 2: there’s a little more substance there.

  • 3: the piece has some real substance or a spark to it.

There were twenty media articles in total. Fifteen of those articles received a 4 in their categories. The methodology looked at how frequently each genre occurs in each media article. To do this, some of the pieces of graffiti were double-counted. I chose their final classification based on whatever would give them the highest interestingness score, or if the scores were equal, using the less common classification.

Analysis and Discussion

Doran and Lees, 2005). (Andrew, 2014). Similar words that are common to the articles are application of law; the need to crack down on illegal graffiti; negative impact graffiti has to the public spaces (White, 2001); current designated graffiti sites should be destroyed and persons doing graffiti should get arrested As Police Minister Mike Gallacher put it, “it is extremely disappointing to see Sydney City Council to promote graffiti which is not only illegal but blight on our public spaces” (Much of the general policy, political and media debate surrounding graffiti activities understand the phenomenon almost solely in terms of damaging vandalism that has a negative effect on quality of life and crime issues (Wilson and Kelling, 2006).

This apprehension is partly due to anxiety of the community in being potential victims to projected criminality. This anxiety is also reflected in the harsher penalties including imprisonment, applied to graffiti offenders. Elizabeth, 2014). (These words are biased to those people who do graffiti, Irrespective of the reasons given in most of these articles. In these articles, graffiti is perceived as a crime and vandalism because it has been associated with other criminal behavior such as robbery

Doran and Lees, 2005). As illustrated by Ms Rawnsley: who has took upon herself to remove graffiti around her suburb five year ago and replacing it with beautiful murals with positive messages, “ Five years ago nobody would come through Lalor Park unless they had to, it was a scary place, especially for the elderly,” (Mercedes, 2014). . The pervasiveness of graffiti activities have made people to be fearful of walking in their neighborhoods, of becoming patrons at certain shops, of feeling secure and safe in their communities ((White, 2001), i.e. Graffiti writings represent the visible sign of unruliness and disorder, a threat to the ‘quality of life’ of private property business and residents White, 2001)There are a number of reasons why graffiti activities have become a ‘public issue’ of concern. To some extent the presence of graffiti writings have been linked to the ‘fear of crime’ (

One reason for this is the correlation that has been made between criminal behavior and graffiti work . This has taken several forms, for example, at a concrete level, at least in the Sydney, part of the fear generated by graffiti activities is ‘thai’ it is linked directly to criminal gangs. Such linkages are periodically made here as well, particularly through media portrayals of ‘graffiti gangs’ (White, 2001). “It is for this reason that legislation is being introduced into Parliament that will makes it illegal to mark any surface without the owner’s permission, while children could be fined $440 for drawing hopscotch squares without council permission” (The Daily Telegraph, 2013).

In theoretical terms, an association has been made between crimes and graffiti work. “This has have been described in term of the so called ‘broken windows” (Worpole, 1997). “This refers to the idea that if a broken window in a house is not replaced, then the sense that nobody is in control or nobody cares will inevitably lead to more windows being broken” (White, 2001; p.256). As described by Andrew (2014), “Graffiti is a scourge. It makes people feel unsafe and it’s a stepping stone for young offenders to serious criminal activity”. In comparison, some respondents feels that if graffiti activities are unchecked and ignored, then atmosphere of lawlessness implied by this will lead to even more serious crimes being committed (Adam, 2012).

As some of the respondents in said, “ The maximum available punishment for graffiti writers, is cleaning up the place, and possibly jail time if it’s their second or third offence, while others believe graffiti writers should be forced to clean their own graffiti to understand the difficulty of others face when cleaning up graffiti in public spaces” (Anna, 2012). .Halsey and Young, 2002)and whilst graffiti writings remains out of place in society and it has been difficult for it to be recognised as a form of art (There are those people who feel that unless legal graffiti writing is displayed in art gallery or some other appropriate public spaces, then graffiti cannot be said to be an art,

Much of the general policy, political and media debate surrounding graffiti activities understand the phenomenon almost solely in terms of damaging vandalism that has a negative effect on quality of life and crime issues (Wilson and Kelling, 2006). On the other hand, many young people see graffiti as creative expression, a way to show the public or society how they feel (Ferrell, 2005). There have been tension between young people wanting to break free of social constraint and organizations that attempts to prevent and remove graffiti (White, 2001). The authorities and graffiti writers are juxtaposed (Ferrell, 2005). Graffitists see a black canvas to be brightened up with design and colors; the need to beautify a plain wall (Innes, 2004).

Halsey and Young (2006) interviewed graffiti writers to find out their motivations for involvement in the culture. Key among those reasons is that graffiti writers gain enjoyment and pleasure from writing. “Other reasons for these activity included fame, a sense of belonging to the graffiti culture and the affective response to the writing process; taking hold of the painting can, and seeing their work finished” (Halsey and Young, 2002; p.35).

The last key features of research findings is that policy responses and crime prevention need to understand that cultural values and meaning attached to graffiti activities should move beyond simplistic dichotomies between criminal damage and art (Cornish and Clarke, 1986). Young people tend to associate both with graffiti writing but that the artistic merit that is associated with complex pieces is held to outweigh problems of property damage and crime (Ferrell, 2005). This perspective has also raised serious question about eradication programs that are based on the speedy removal of graffiti writings. “Since there is a distinct line between graffiti and street art. Street art is for everyone and more pleasing to the public eye while graffiti is just a word in style”, in addition, “there have been a shift in people’s attitude which has been happening since the early 2000s where people are now more accepting of murals” (Ian, 2013).“Graffiti eradication programs are largely based on epidemiological approach that assumes graffiti writings encourage imitative behaviors, eradication programs effectively contest control over territory in ways that exacerbate the challenges and risks that attract graffiti writers in the first place” (Anna, 2012).


Addressing the issue of crime prevention and graffiti writing is too often founded upon prior assumptions that in many circumstances are either wrong or these policies are needed to be explored further than is often the case (White, 2001). Graffiti writings are simply not the preserve of the young people. Graffiti writings have many different forms and social purposes. Graffiti writings can be a source of group bonding and identity formation. Graffiti writing does not necessarily, nor automatically nor logically, equate with criminality. Graffiti writing is a complex phenomenon and there are many ambiguities surrounding this form of art (Halsey and Young, 2002). Thus, the options that are remaining is to instigate new ways to manage graffiti writings. Tolerance of graffiti writings in whatever form it takes, such as, expanding the range of public spaces upon which legal and open graffiti can take place (White, 2001). In order to do this, auditing should be carried out in private and public spaces and surfaces for potential availability- such as walls of police stations etc (Ferrell, 2005). Lastly, certain public spaces should also be designated as ‘free spaces’, in which anything at all is allowed to be displayed or said. Such venues could be periodically cleaned regularly to allow new art work (Ferrell, 2005).

Reference List

Surry The Daily Telegraph,Adam, B August 21, 2012, “O’Farrell claims victory on graffiti”

Hills, N.S.W

Anna, P August 22, 2012, ‘Diluted Graffiti bill ratified’, Sydney, N.S.W

, Daily Telegraph, Surry Clover cops spray over support for graffiti ‘art’Andrew C Jan 30, 2014,

Hlls, N.S.W.

Cornish, D.B. and Clarke, R.V 2007, Reasoning Criminal — Rational Choice Perspectives

. on Offending, Springer-Verlag Publisher, New Jersey

The In Place Out of Place: Geography, Ideology, and Transgression, Cresswell, T 1996,

. University of Minnesota Press, New York

Doran, B. and Lees, B 2005, ‘Investigating the Spatiotemporal Links Between Disorder,

, vol.57 no.11, pp.1-12.The Professional Geographer Crime and the Fear of Crime’,

Elizabeth, F March 27, 2014, ‘Its attitude that separates street art from graffiti’, Sydney,

Surry Hills, The Daily Telegraph,Ian Walker 27 September, 2013, ‘Alley art moves to galleries’.

TheHalsey, M. and Young, A 2002, ‘The Meaning of Graffiti and Municipal Administration’,

, vol.35, no.2, pp. 165-186. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology

, if any, “Street Talk: What punishment should graffiti vandals receiveHills, S September 2013,

The Daily Telegraph, Surry Hills, N.S.W

Garland Publisher, Crimes of style: Urban graffiti and the politics of criminality, Ferrell, J 2005,

New York.

Innes, M 2004, ‘Reinventing Tradition? Reassurance, Neighborhood Security and Policing’,

, vol.4, no.2, pp. 151-171. Criminal Justice

The Daily Mercedes, M April 30, 2014, “The mural lady who is giving graffiti the flick”,

, Surry Hills, N.S.W. Telegraph

”, Surry Hills, N.S.W. Graffiti laws hopscotchedThe Daily Telegraph 2013, “

Current Issues in CriminalWhite, R. 2001, ‘Graffiti, Crime Prevention and Cultural Space’,

, vol.2, no.3, pp. 253-68. Justice

Atlantic Monthly,Wilson, J.Q. and Kelling, G 2006, ‘The Police and Neighborhood Safety’,

, vol.2, no.3, pp. 28-38 March