There have been 16 instances of graffiti on campus from September to February, said Chief of Public Safety Randy Burba, compared to 13 incidents over the same time period during the 2015-2016 academic year.
“It’s actually only three more (instances of graffiti) from that period to this period,” Burba said. “But if you’re only talking about 10 or 20 crimes, three is still significant.”
Orange police spokesperson Lt. Fred Lopez said that out of eight reports from Chapman regarding graffiti, two people have been arrested. Out of the eight reported, two were by the same person, Lopez said.
“Prosecution is difficult because often it is a misdemeanor offense, which requires it to be committed in our presence,” Lopez said.
The majority of the graffiti is scribbled writing, or appears to be quickly made, instead of larger, more detailed pieces. Burba said that even though the graffiti was found on campus, the perpetrators appear to be unrelated to Chapman.
Burba said that most of the graffiti consists of nicknames or aliases of the people doing the graffiti, and that the instances were most commonly found on large walls and temporary construction fencing.
“The tagging we experience is often done by tagging crews who concentrate their activity on defacing property through various forms of graffiti,” Lopez said. “Even placing stickers on property is a form of tagging. We do have some gang members that also deface property.”
Audrey Woodsum, a sophomore business administration major, said she knew of at least one student who had painted a large piece of graffiti on the southeast side of campus near the Dodge College of Film and Media Arts.
Sophomore creative writing major Ilene Preston said that because she came from the public school system, instances of small graffiti don’t bother her.
“I have never seen any large, traditional graffiti here,” Preston said. “I love the idea of graffiti. It’s an art form. I just feel that there is a time and place for it.”
Burba could not estimate the yearly cost of removing graffiti on campus. A representative from Facilities Management, which is responsible for removing the pieces, declined to comment for this story.
“It’s not an inexpensive thing to have to keep cleaning up this graffiti,” Burba said. “These are what I call ‘annoyance crimes.’ It’s ugly, people don’t want to see it and it takes money and effort to go and clean it up.”