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Graffiti Prevention: 6 best practices for commercial building owners and occupiers

It’s clear from just a cursory glance in most of the UK’s towns and cities just how problematic graffiti has become, not just for local councils but for independent businesses and even private individuals. Across our capital city graffiti now affects all thirty-two London boroughs, not just those situated around inner London as it once did.

With the impact of graffiti estimated to cost UK tax payers and businesses more than £1 billion each year and growing, a graffiti prevention strategy can help to reduce unnecessary clean-up costs and protect your commercial building from the unsightly nuisance that has plagued our towns and cities for decades.

Access prevention

Access prevention is one of the most effective methods of reducing graffiti and paint vandalism as it cuts the problem off at the source. For many commercial building owners, access prevention instantly reduces or eliminates their graffiti problem in a highly cost-effective way.

Access prevention methods often include barriers and the strategic use of large objects to block or reduce access to a location. Metal barriers and fences are the most effective, although not always practical due to the challenging location of many graffiti hotspots.

Other effective solutions for access prevention include dense plant life, hedges, ivy, shrubs and flower beds. Not only can they prevent access to a graffiti hotspot but they can also cover it up, almost eliminating the desire for vandals to try to access it in the first place. Thorny plants are one of the most effective natural deterrents for obvious reasons.

Barrier coatings

Protective coatings, also known as barrier coatings, are another highly effective preventative maintenance strategy against graffiti.

Barrier coatings are either permanent or sacrificial coatings that are bonded to the surface of a graffiti hotspot. Most typically, barrier coatings come in the form of anti-graffiti paint which repels spray paint, causing it not to bond with the surface.

Sacrificial coatings form a clear layer over the surface of a graffiti hotspot, enabling property owners to pressure-wash or peel away any offending graffiti with relative ease.

The advantage with many barrier coatings is that they can be used on a multitude of surfaces and materials – furniture and signage for example – without impacting the look of the surface or causing permanent alteration.

See Brilliance can provide a range of anti-graffiti barrier solutions that are easy to install and provide an effective shield against paint vandalism, etching and scratching. Contact us for more information.


A surveillance strategy reduces the chances of graffiti vandalism by increasing the risks associated with committing the crime. The specific approaches to surveillance will vary significantly, but the most common method is to install a video surveillance system.

You may opt for professional CCTV installation or a DIY solution such as Ring or Nest – just be sure to review your legal obligations in terms of subject privacy and data storage before buying and installing a CCTV system.

Some businesses choose a more formal surveillance approach by hiring private security staff to actively monitor a site or location. Third-party companies can also provide a similar service, circumventing the need to wade through complex hiring processes and employment regulation.


Graffiti vandals are less likely to commit and offence if they can be seen. By ensuring that your premises is well lit at night, you make the actions of graffiti criminals much more visible.

Security lights that are motion activated offer the element of surprise, with the outcome of deterring any would-be intruder before they open their rucksack and pull out the paint can. Security lighting is also much more efficient to run compared with lighting that is always switched on.

Lighting should be durable enough to withstand stones being thrown at it, and accessible enough that you can replace bulbs quickly should the need arise.


Signage is a powerful way to formalise your anti-graffiti efforts and notify vandals of your intent to take legal action if you see fit. The type of signage you choose depends on your specific approach to graffiti prevention. Anti-graffiti signage is often the first step, outlining your wishes to eliminate the defacing of your private property.

For organisations that have adopted a more rigorous anti-graffiti strategy, signage outlining the specific elements of your strategy are highly effective. These may include CCTV signage, anti-graffiti paint signs, or notices of intent to prosecute.

Signage is most effective when used in combination with the other strategies mentioned above.

Fast, professional removal

According to recent data from the Australian Government, the effectiveness of graffiti prevention is improved by rapid removal or rectification of new graffiti offences. The Australian Government’s Graffiti Vandalism Strategy states that quick removal of graffiti counteracts the motivation of graffiti vandals to re-offend in the same spot. Further to this, the strategy outlines that the presence of graffiti can have a negative impact on the level of crime in an area.

“There is ample evidence that employing the rapid removal strategy can serve as a successful prevention and reduction method for graffiti vandalism.”

Essentially, existing graffiti acts as an advert to criminals that an area may not be well maintained or monitored. This can lead to worsening crime rates across the board. Rapid removal not only eliminates this issue but it also sends a clear message to previous offenders that their efforts will be quickly wasted through quick removal of the offending ‘artwork’.

Keeping the UK graffiti-free

For over thirty years, See Brilliance has been committed to helping commercial building owners and occupiers keep their buildings looking fantastic.

Our graffiti removal methods are safe and reliable and are used by the Royal Institute of British Architects and Historic England.

To find out more about our graffiti removal methods, including DOFF Steam Cleaning and restorative cleaning, get in touch with our cleaning and restoration specialists today.

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