Is grafitti on the rise in Downtown LA?

Graffiti has been a hot topic in Downtown LA. However, are graffiti numbers really rising?

Street art frequently appears in the news. Most recently, over a dozen artists took over the Oceanwide Plaza skyscraper development, according to multiple news outlets. However, a report by Jon Regardie, a researcher from Crosstown LA shows that graffiti is not on the rise. His study highlights that Boyle Heights is actually the city with most graffiti reports with about 28 thousand since the start of last year. Downtown comes at a close second with around 24 thousand.

Despite not being the city with the highest graffiti reports, street art has made its mark on Downtown LA. Gabriel Khan, professor of professional practice and a founder of Crosstown, notes this unique characteristic of the city.

Gabriel Khan: I think that anybody who spends any time downtown knows that there’s quite a bit of graffiti. There’s some historic public art slash graffiti that’s been around for quite some time as well. So it’s part of the landscape.

Additionally, Khan believes there’s a much deeper issue underlying graffiti, especially when it comes to the Downtown skyscraper.

Gabriel Khan: I think the real responsibility of the city is to hold accountable the project owners. I think that their issue is not really a graffiti problem, it’s more of an abandoned property issue.

Andrea Shin is a sophomore studying disease prevention. She says the takeover of the Downtown skyscraper is too extreme.

Andrea Shin: “I feel like the building in downtown, for example, I feel like they take that way too far. I feel like it’s not art. I feel like that’s just vandalism.”

California law defines graffiti as an act of vandalism and is punishable by heavy fines and jail time. Whether you think of graffiti as art or vandalism, the impact of street art on the community undeniable.

For Annenberg Media, I’m Drake Lee

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