Tuesday, August 12, 2014

How to use the city's new graffiti-reporting system

Posted By on Tue, Aug 12, 2014 at 3:47 PM

This week, the city of Spokane launched a new online form where you can report graffiti on your computer or smart phone.

City law bans graffiti and requires business owners to remove it from their property within 10 days. The mayor calls graffiti an "eyesore in our neighborhoods" and Spokane C.O.P.S. says tagging contributes to the "broken-window effect," where areas that are allowed to deteriorate end up attracting more crime. Still, there are some who argue graffiti is a good thing, like a New York sociologist who told Fast Company that graffiti "attracts the type of urban ‘cool’ consumer that marketers call ‘taste makers’ and that advertisers and retailers so desperately want to reach."

If you fall on the first side of that argument, here's what to expect out of the city's new reporting system. (Otherwise, carry on and here's this.)

The city's site looks basically the same on a phone and a desktop computer, so this is how it should look no matter where you're accessing it. Go to the city's website and select "My Spokane" in the top right corner. You'll see this screen, where you can select "report graffiti." (If you find yourself on the city's horribly outdated old website, try typing beta.spokanecity.org into your browser.)

You'll be asked to create an account.

You'll be required to enter personal information and asked to describe the graffiti and its location. You can also upload photos.

In order to see a pin on the map, which you can use to mark the graffiti's location, select "Use my location" or "Center of map." Then, drag the pin to the spot.

Finally, if you're worried about your safety for making this report, you can ask that your contact information not be disclosed.

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Heidi Groover

Heidi Groover is a staff writer at the Inlander, where she covers city government and drug policy. On the job, she's spent time with prostitutes, "street kids," marriage equality advocates and the family of a 16-year-old organ donor...