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6 TIPS FOR STAYING A STEP AHEAD OF GRAFFITI VANDALS

1. Wipe it out as quickly as possible. That defeats the "advertisement" purpose of graffiti. And, taggers and gangsters get tired of redoing their handiwork.

2. Paint a colorful mural on large, blank surfaces. Graffiti vandals tend to respect wall art. A colored surface is no longer a blank canvas and lessens the impact of graffiti.

3. Plant prickly bushes, shrubs or climbing vines next to walls. The plants make the surface harder, and sometimes painful, to reach. Pyracanthia is perfect; so are rose bushes, ivy and wisteria.

4. Cover exterior surfaces with a polymer sealant or wax coating. A steam or hot water sprayer melts off "sacrificial" wax coatings, taking graffiti with it. Polymer sealants prevent penetration of spray paint, making it easier to remove.

5. Break up the canvas. Erect a wrought iron or chain link fence rather than a solid wood or cement one. Or, if you're set on a wooden fence, leave spaces between the slats.

6. Illuminate the landscape around your home or business with motion-sensitive lights. *Tips suggested by Janene Brown, director of Salt Lake City's Off the Wall Program.