Municipal Buildings
About Graffiti Removal

Don't Let Them Mark Your Turf

The City of Des Moines operates a graffiti removal program to “erase” graffiti that appears in our neighborhoods, on public property and in commercial areas. Graffiti includes undesirable messages, scribbles, and symbols that are usually spray- or hand- painted on fences, buildings, bridges, and other structures, as well as on objects such as trees, trash dumpsters and street signs.  The ugly results can require much work and expense to remove.   Over 50% of instances are the result of gangs marking or “tagging” their respective areas of turf and sending messages to rival gangs.   

The City’s graffiti program is administered by the Facilities Division, which handles removal, and the Police Department’s Intelligence Unit, which tracks the locations and messages to monitor for possible gang activity and to create various types of reports.   The goal is to have HATE graffiti removed within 24 hours or less of its reporting, and GANG graffiti eliminated within three working days.  Although police patrols of the City’s Neighborhood Based Service Delivery (NBSD) Program are constantly on the lookout for and reporting graffiti sightings, the Facilities Division relies on the eyes of the public to help them eliminate graffiti.

How to Report Graffiti

Anyone, anywhere, anytime can report the location and nature of a graffiti sighting to the Facilities Division via email  or phone (515) 248-6331. 

Facts About Graffiti in Des Moines

Over 50% of these graffiti cases are  gang-related. 40% of them occur on private property and the other 60% are on public property. Private property includes places of business, houses, garages, fences and other buildings. Public property includes bridges, overpasses and underpasses, freeway walls on the non-DOT side, utility boxes and poles, trees, sidewalks, park property, etc.  Schools and the DOT take care of their own incidences of graffiti so the numbers cited do not include graffiti on those properties. Also not included are incidences taken care of by private property owners without being reported to police.