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The City of Portland, Oregon

Community & Civic Life

Promote the common good

Main: 503-823-4519

City/County Info: 503-823-4000

TDD: 503-823-6868

1221 SW 4th Ave, Suite 110, Portland, OR 97204

How to report and prevent tagging

Graffiti photo

At night when most businesses are closed in a commercial zone, the area is bereft of people who are invested in the area and will take action if they see suspicious activity. Surveillance, private patrols, security strategies and alarm systems are helpful in shoring up vulnerabilities and keeping the bad actors in check. However, there are a lot of problems with graffiti in industrial areas despite these measures. Here are some ways to deal with graffiti:

  • 1. Report. If the tagger has left the scene, take a picture of the graffiti and report it by using the PDX Reporter App for Android or IPhone or filing an online report at (it is preferable if you choose the online report option). If that tagger remains or just left the area, contact 9-1-1. You can also report graffiti even if it’s not on your property. Please note:
      • The District Attorney can’t prosecute graffiti cases without a picture.
      • The City maintains a database of the incidents that residents report, which is researched when a tagger is caught. Since one tagger can cause a lot of damage before being apprehended, it’s important to be able to prosecute all incidents. The property owner will have to support the prosecution by testifying about monetary losses associated with vandalism.   
      • 2.  Remove. Because graffiti taggers are motivated by notoriety, leaving the tags up reinforces the behavior. Promptly removing the graffiti within 24-48 hours helps deter future incidents.
      • 3. Prevent. If your business is continually targeted, consider making changes to your property to prevent access to vulnerable areas. For example, you may plant thorny vegetation near an area regularly targeted or gate off access. Work with your Crime Prevention Coordinator for suggestions.
      • 4. Create a mural. Where possible, creating a community mural can be a deterrent. Tags are less visible when they are competing with a detailed mural.  You will need to obtain a permit with the City You can also contact the Regional Arts Council at 

Take steps to promptly address graffiti and prevent future incidents. Your actions will help enhance your business area.